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Fitness- A Very Brief History of Exercise In America

Fitness in America has changed over the centuries. Following is a very brief historical review:

Colonial Period

From 1700-1776, there was no need for the fitness centers and exercise classes The days were filled with physical activity. Plowing, growing crops, herding cattle, hunting and maintaining a household provided plenty of body movement.

National Period

1776-1860, America welcomed European immigrants who introduced gymnastics. Ben Frankliln recommended daily physical activity such as swimming and running. However, fitness was seen as recreational.

The Post Civil Was Era Between 1865-1900 advanced industrial and mechanical technologies were introduced. Americans physical activity on the job was lessened. This introduced Type 2 Diabetes, certain Cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

The Military In 1917, World War I and World War II in 1941, the military personnel had to train and train for combat and battle. This trend influenced the country at large. Many of our fitness wear today is inspired by what our soldiers wore in training such as camouflage pants.

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Post War and Today The 1950′s led Americans into a lifestyle that “needed” to develop ways to motivate citizens to move their bodies in different ways to keep themselves healthy.

Television shows began to teach Americans how to exercise from the comfort of their own homes. Workout clothes became popular and schools became serious about teaching Physical Education to children and teens.

Gym chains were founded during this period, including Golds Gym which opened in 1965. In the 1980′s, large Corporations created Fitness Centers for their employees. By the time the 1990′s arrived, wide spread use of gym centers had become “normal” and exercise became an “expectation.”