Tuesday, 12 September 2017
WHY IS EXERCISE IMPORTANT?
WHERE IT ALL BEGIN?
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.
The 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.
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 debatably 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.
Some 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.
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 only the board worrier survives, the most dangerous creature he or she faces is the deadly office chair, and 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.
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.