Enthusiasm Is The Enemy - Get Fit Stay Fit
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There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Young men practiced fundamental skills such as walking and running on uneven terrains, jumping, crawling, climbing, lifting and carrying heavy things, throwing and catching, unarmed fighting, and weapons training. Civilized populations valued physical culture for sports as well.
Records of athletic competitions exist from ancient Egypt, and of course, the ancient Greeks famously created the first Olympic games. Not surprisingly, these early sports were all based on practical, natural movement skills and were fundamentally related to the preparedness needed for war — the Greeks strove to best each other in running sometimes with armor and shield , jumping, throwing javelin or discus , and fighting striking and wrestling.
The images above demonstrate the sports the Greeks trained for and competed in during their Olympics games. The events concentrated on natural movements, like running, and martial skills, like fighting. They celebrated the idea of having a sound mind, in a sound body. Lasting from the 5th to the 15th century, the Middle Ages were a chaotic period with a succession of kingdoms and empires, waves of barbarian invasions, and devastating plagues. Education was overwhelmingly connected to the Church, and focused on cultivating the mind rather than training the body. Under feudalism, the dominant social system in medieval Europe, only nobles and mercenaries underwent physical training for military service.
The Renaissance Era from around to prompted a much greater and open interest in the body, anatomy, biology, health, and physical education. In , Vittorino da Feltre, an Italian humanist and one of the first modern educators, opened a very popular school where, beyond the humanist subjects, a special emphasis was placed on physical education. In the book, exercises, games, and sports are classified, analyzed, and described from a medical standpoint, and advice is offered on how to prevent and recover from injuries resulting from these physical pursuits.
Several chapters even provide specific advice on particular drills and games for women, children, and the elderly.
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Laying out the principles of physical therapy for the first time, and accompanied with beautiful illustrations even though they were largely creative speculations , it is considered the first book on sports medicine, and strongly influenced the wave of physical education and training methods that started to emerge in Europe two centuries later.
The Industrial Revolution, marking the transition from manual production methods to machine-based manufacturing processes, began around and quickly generated social, economic, and cultural trends that changed the way people lived, worked, and of course, moved. As people became more sedentary, a new movement towards intentional physical exercise arose. This movement was given a boost in the 19 th century from the rise of a nationalistic fervor in many counties in Europe.
Staying healthy, fit, and ready to serve in battle became a point of civic duty and pride. This model inspired the founding of many similar institutions, and physical training began to become more systemized and included as an integral part of the educational curriculum.
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Some of the apparatuses designed by Muths. In Friedrich Jahn came on the physical culture scene. To this end, he led young men on fresh-air expeditions and taught them gymnastics and calisthenics to restore their physical and moral strength. In , Jahn opened the first Turnplatz, or open-air gymnasium, in Berlin. His gymnastics movement, then called the Turnverein, spread rapidly throughout the country, and in he published Die Deutsche Turnkunst The German Gymnastics dedicated to his gymnastics system.
In addition to these contributions to physical culture, Jahn invented the pommel horse and horizontal and parallel bars, and promoted the use of gymnastic rings. The physical culture festivals he sponsored attracted as many as 30, enthusiasts, but the essence and end goal of his gymnastics and calisthenics methods were above all practical and functional, not artistic. He advocated the practice of the traditional natural movements like running, balancing, jumping, climbing, and so on.
Well-informed of this German model, as well as the ancient tradition of athletics, Swede Pehr Henrik Ling developed principles of physical development, emphasizing the integration of perfect bodily development with muscular beauty. Swedish gymnastics had four categories: Aspects of this method can still be traced in some modern programs of physical training. Around the exact same time, Spaniard Francisco Amoros founded a military gymnastics school in Madrid, then moved to Paris and established the Normal Gymnastic Civil and Military School in In , French physical culture pioneer and strongman Hippolyte Triat founded a huge gymnasium in Paris where the bourgeois, aristocrats, and spirited youth joined in an enthusiastic pursuit of fitness.
In the s after the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to the Germans, the already budding nationalistic mood in France exploded.
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Physical education became a principal focus in French schools, as battalions of young men were trained to avenge the country. In Scotland, the Highland Games began during the Romantic trend of the s, and included traditional physical challenges distinctive to Scottish culture such as caber tossing, hammer throwing, and the stone shot put, along with running, wrestling, and jumping. The exercise methods developed by German physical culturists influenced English physical education. In the first English athletic competition was conducted at the Royal Military Academy.
Scot Archibald MacLaren opened a well-equipped gymnasium at the University of Oxford in , where he trained 12 army officers who then implemented his physical training regimen into the British Army.
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It is also worth mentioning the Czech Sokol movement. Founded in , this youth sports and gymnastics organization was inspired by the German Turnverein Gymnastic Movement and provided physical, moral, and intellectual training for the nation through fitness programs mostly centered on marching drills, fencing, and various forms of weightlifting , lectures, group outings, and massive gymnastics festivals. This training extended to men of all economic classes, eventually to women, and ultimately to the entire Slavic world.
The Polish Falcons had similar aspirations. In addition to physical training and athletic contests, such cultural groups often sponsored national or traditional dances, songs, and language revivals. Everywhere in Europe people seemed to develop a fitness culture rooted in their ethnic or national identity. As Europe entered the 20 th century, French navy officer and physical educator Georges Hebert played a prominent role in moving physical culture forward — and did so by taking a cue from the cultures of the past.
The insights modern man can glean from these seminal works will be the subject of my next post. Since the threat of foreign invasion was never as great in the United States as it was in Europe, the need to prepare for war was not as acute, and thus an emphasis on physical culture came later to this country.
Catharine Beecher was one of the first pioneers to create an awareness of fitness in America. As a strong advocate for the inclusion of physical education in schools as well as daily exercises for both sexes, she developed a program of calisthenics that were performed to music. At the same time, European physical culture traditions started to take root in America. It was the first gym in the nation and hosted the first school gymnastics program in the country. Many other Turners became active in the American public education system and strongly influenced it by opening clubs and teaching gymnastics in various states.
One of the most notable practitioners of this European tradition was Dudley Allen Sargent, who is considered to be the founder of physical education in the United States. From until his retirement in , he was director of the Hemenway Gymnasium at Harvard University, where he taught the German and Swedish systems that he had learned as a young man. Sargent also challenged the Victorian view of females as feeble and prone to fainting, and encouraged freedom of dress and vigorous activity for girls and women.
Practical and cooperative physical training. Your great-grandma was training for the Spartan Race, before there was a Spartan Race. The big takeaway from tracing the development of physical culture both in Europe and the US during this period is that these gymnastics systems were all very similar, and mostly based on a practical approach.
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The exception to this trend was the introduction of apparatuses like the Gymnasticon. Invented in , it was the forerunner of modern machine-based fitness. The use of fitness equipment would pick up in the 20th century, as would the weights-based, strength-oriented strongman approach to physical culture. These two trends would lead to the modern fitness industry as we know it. At the height of his popularity, he had more than fitness centers, and several of the famous early strongmen and bodybuilders were proponents of the Desbonnet method.
Being rather expensive, his fitness centers were frequented by the high class of French and European society before World War I. After the war, the working class also started to gain access to the physical culture movement. During the same period in the USA, Bernarr Macfadden came to prominence as an American physical culture guru and healthy living advocate. Macfadden started to market a wall-mounted muscle developer that he had created, and founded one of the first muscle magazines, Physical Culture , in