The History of Exercise

The History of Exercise


When it comes to exercise, most people are looking for what is new—the latest and greatest in research, exercises, and fitness-related programs. However, in order to fully understand where we are in this field, as well as where we’re headed, it helps to first learn how we got where we are.

Whereas exercise for most of us is a supplement to our daily lives, something we do in order to raise our level of fitness, such was not the case for our primal ancestors. From the time humans first existed (roughly 200,000 years ago), exercise was something that men and women just got. Whether they were out foraging for food or trying to outrun their predators, physical activity was a way of life.

As we became more civilized, developing tools to help with crop production and creating new trade options, exercise transitioned to different methods, but was still very much an everyday act. In other words, people continued to work hard from sun up to sun down (or longer) merely to survive.

For fun, some of our ancestors did engage in exercise more similar to what we know it today, competing against each other, working hard to build their bodies in the attempt to be declared the best. One of the most well-known competitions is the Olympics, with the Ancient Olympics beginning in 776 BC.

Ultimately, people tended to live fairly active lives, getting in their exercise in their day-to-day living until just the past few decades. With the technological advancements we’ve been able to make recently, more people are spending their days sitting. Add a desk-based job to the mix and exercise has become more choice than necessity, which is partially why we’re seeing some of the obesity problems prevalent today.

Any thoughts about how we can reverse this trend and make exercise more a part of our day naturally? Share your comments below!

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