It is unlikely that the word “exercise,” or any similar word, existed as recently as 200 years ago. Of course, prior to 200 years ago, “exercise” was never really necessary, as sedentary life was very unusual.
In prehistoric times the phrase “run for your life” had real meaning. Survival – by whatever means necessary – resulted in most people having very active lives. As society “evolved,” more conflict entered the picture. Every day life was no longer dominated by man versus predator conflicts, but by those between people. To be able to fight and survive, these people had to be in very good physical condition, or they would suffer, or die. As “civilization” expanded, war became more prevalent, demanding top levels of physical fitness. But simple lifestyles, agriculture, fishing and other skills, required a lot of physical power and strength.
The decline of our physical prowess began with the advent of the industrial revolution. As machines replaced men, less physical power was required and the dawn of the age of sedentary life crept up on us. The nobility, whose only exercise was walking from carriage to door, began to become overweight, and they wore it as a badge of honor, showing that they were rich enough to buy whatever food they wanted, while the proletariat starved.
In truth, the concept of exercise to improve health and appearance did not really gain popularity until the 1950s. At the same time, as people became more aware of the need to keep in good physical condition, foods began flooding the market that negatively impacted people’s health. Fast food skyrocketed in popularity, food became more saturated with artificial additives, preservatives, and people slowly realized that exercise was now a necessity.
Celebrities and “gurus” started designing and promoting exercise programs. People began to obsess over many of these hot, new fads, like jogging, aerobics, spinning, elliptical trainers, yoga, zumba, pilates, cross-training and many more.
While many of these exercise plans are healthy in moderation, stressing out and over-exercising can be as bad as not exercising at all. The key is to find an exercise regimen that you enjoy. For some people, running for 30 minutes a day in a beautiful park, listening to great music, is one of the greatest pleasures of their day, but for others, the same activity can be too boring, difficult or time-consuming.
Our weight loss professionals would love to discuss your individual health goals with you! After our consultation, we will help you find the exercise program that will both motivate you and help you find the healthy life you’re looking for!