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When did exercise become important?

Homo sapiens have been exercising from the beginning of time, only in the last 100 or so years has our technology advanced to a point that most human beings can get through an average week without having to build a fire, hunt or gather.

Our so called primitive ancestors would hunt and gather spending hours searching for the family’s next meal, journeys could take days on foot over testing terrain, no perfectly balanced air-conditioned vehicle to take them to the supermarket, a fine balance of speed and agility would be part of their daily lives.

People of this time would also dance and partake in cultural games that could often last for hours. However sadly there were no DJ on hand at that period, if you wanted music you would first have to build the instruments, and if you wanted real collaborative music then no single push of a magic button could do.

Manual labour was an inescapable reality for our fun loving ancestors, if they wanted something, they would have to sweat to get it.

This type of lifestyle pre 10 000bc would demand a high level of fitness and activity level.

The earliest documented Chinese expression of exercise dates back over 4000 years, the practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and martial arts training all have roots in Chinese history, medicine and culture. Many Company’s even today in modern china start the day with group exercises, movements and practice controlled breathing before starting work.

The Chinese believe this helps there worker focus and maintain good health, recently scientific evidence would indicate that cardio vascular work before work can help improve blood flow to the brain, strengthen the immune system, and can be more stimulating than caffeine.

Cong Fu was originally devised to defend against attackers it is a martial art that kept its citizens fit, alongside other existing activities in china were badminton, dancing, fencing and wrestling a sport not Just for Japanese.

Chinese Culture

Ancient Greeks

The Greeks were obsessed with their idea of perfection,

Fuelled by an narcissistic ideology the roman`s had an obsession with the human form, which is entrenched in the beautiful art work and culture of the time. Evidence of t Roman`s obsession exist today, in the immortalised god and goddess like physiques still survive today through sculpture and works of art proudly displayed and preserved as a near timeless moment in history.

Rome and the roman way of life could seem somewhat hedonistic compared with other cultures of the time period, fitness was entangled in their daily lives, a physically fit body was a badge of honour worn with pride.

Romans were great exhibitionist, thousands would gather to watch displays of power strength and agility, gladiators showed off their power and strength in games of life and death, inhumane by today’s standard but to them it would have been as normal as gathering to watch a sporting event today.

A human symbol of strength, Roman appreciation for the beauty of the body and importance of health and fitness has become well documented in history.

They believed that physical wellbeing was necessary for mental wellbeing which would result in a strong healthy sound mind.

Fast forward 1176-1860 United States of America

Fitness at this time was very much influenced by European cultures including German and Swedish gymnastics in the USA.

Early leaders in the United States were aware that exercise and health was very much an important aspect of life.

Benjamin Franklin recommended that people exercise regular including running/swimming or some basic forms of resistant training.

United States

1865-1900 Post Civil War

The Industrial revolution was a very important event in terms of modern fitness for the USA.

As rural life changed into urban life, people became less active resulting in a decrease in physical activity levels and the increase in public transport.

By the 1950s diseases such as cardio vascular disease and cancer was starting to become recognized and the medical community began to ponder whether the increase could have a common connection.

The 20th Century

Theodore Roosevelt arguably one of the most physically fit US presidents held a strong view point on the importance of exercise, as it was well documented that as a child he suffered a great deal with asthma but he allegedly overcame this with regular exercise and living with a healthy attitude.

New Fitness Developments


Jack Lalanne began his lifelong career as a media fitness instructor

He introduced the first pulley machine the safety system for doing squats and the first leg extension machine.

The minimum muscular fitness test for children was introduced by Kraus Hirschland, this test was designed to measure strength and flexibility in children.


Modern Society

We have become increasingly reliant on machines in our high tech society, we move ever forward into automation, more of us work in offices and factories physical labour becomes increasingly scarce.

We walk less, our eating habits become worse, and we spend less time focusing on our health than any period in history, partly by choice and partly by design.

Modern careers force us to adopt ever sedentary lifestyles, often spending much of our time at our desks moving from one seat at home to another via public transport and finally cemented firmly to the office seat.

Before the age of Mac and Pc there was a time when warriors would train for hours, hunter gathers would travel by foot, visiting neighbours, using their bodies as nature intended, they would use every muscle in their body, easily achieving more than 30 mins exercise a day.

They had no central heating or comforts of today, meaning there energy expenditure would have been higher, the consequence of them being unfit could literally be a case of life or death they could need strength to ward off wild animals disease and survive the elements.

Today thanks to human ingenuity and cooperation most of us no longer fight the intrepid elements or need to grown our own food, neither do we find ourselves having to ward off blood thirsty enemy's or wild animals eager to be top of the food chain.

Modern transport has done away with the need to cross great distances to forage for food, the safety of the supermarket has all but eliminated any risk of life and limb.

Thankfully in most developed country's food is in abundance and scarcity a distant memory stored as a reminder in the archive of history.

Thanks to the explosion in agriculture science and technology famine is largely a thing of the past .

The Warrior Of Today

The tough manual labour of our ancestor past lay dormant, in the forgotten dusty history books, for most of us only the key-board warrior has survived, the most dangerous creature he or she faces is the deadly office chair

Inactivity has become the number one cause of death in the 20th century taking more lives in a few short years than all the wars in history with sugar as its catalyst the food equivalent of a nuclear fall out, slowly silently poisoning its unwitting victims.

Movement is key to human health with diet being the foundation of a healthy working mind and body. Good nutrition is the most effective method of reducing health related disease. Your muscles including your heart and cardiovascular system respond to overload, meaning they adapt to increasing loads, placed upon the body.

Something as simple as walking for 30 min a day could drastically reduce your risk of cardio vascular related diseases.

So start your day with a healthy breakfast and try to get your health rate increased, the good news is that morning cardio has also been linked to a reduced risk of alzheimers and an increase in cognitive function.

Research has proven exercise has positive benefits on the human Body

Prevention is better than cure

Exercise has been documented to help reduce major illnesses such as heart disease, Stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancers by up to 50% and could even lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

Exercise is often neglected due to our modern lifestyles few people get the recommended daily dose.

Research also shows that exercise helps with depression, Anxiety and can boost self-esteem.

Can also promote good quality rem sleep, increase your daily energy levels, help with confidence issues, Ward off Stress, reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

A 30% Lower risk of people falling, due to Balance and co-ordination that is gained through exercise.

30% Lower risk of depression

35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes

83% lower risk of osteoarthritis

83% lower risk of hip fracture

Adult Health Guidelines

Adults should try to aim for 150 Minutes of exercise a week.

5 x 30-minute exercise per week.

GM-Fitness online training cater for just that.

How do I know how hard to exercise?

To benefit your health, you should aim to increase your activity, you should feel an elevation in your heart rate, breathe faster, and feel slightly warmer, this is classes as moderately intense exercise.

Progress from maintaining your health, to increasing your fitness level, be it stamina or strength takes a little more effort. An example of this would be to work at a rate that is not sustainable for long periods of time, you should feel sweatier, you will be unable to hold a conversation, workout to about 70% of your maximum effort until you feel confident enough to push passed that level.

Figures Taken From The National Health website/ BHF British Heart Foundation

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