History of fitness

Hannah Marsh

As the calendar year starts to wind down, so does another year of historical changes in the fitness industry. Exercise and physical health have been around long before any L.A. Fitness was created, and the American Council on Exercise has documented some of the origins of the techniques that we still use today.

Pre – 10,000 B.C. – Tribes would travel six to 20 miles to seek out food and water, keeping them in prime physical shape.

3,000 B.C. – Yoga was created by Hindu priests by observing and mimicking animal behaviors.

2500 B.C. – 200 B.C. – Ancient Greek Civilization:

  • Greek culture embodied the ideal of physical perfection, and stressed the importance of physical fitness more than any other civilization.
  • Gymnastics was created during this time.

400 C.E. – The Roman Empire stressed military training that enhanced physical fitness.

476 C.E.– “The Dark Ages” – a period of 1,000 years when physical activity, sport and fitness diminished in economic and political chaos.

1700s- No formal exercise programs existed. Instead, lifestyles including plowing land, herding cattle and hunting provided enough demand to maintain fitness levels.

1820: First college gymnasium was built at Harvard.

1827: First competitive football game.

Dec. 15, 1851 – The first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was formed in Boston.

1852: First collegiate competition – a crew race between Harvard and Yale.

April 6, 1896: First modern Olympics.

1961: The Kennedy Administration organized The President’s Council on Youth Fitness.

1970s: “Aerobics” became a term that represented a new approach to cardiovascular fitness after Dr. Kenneth Cooper published his book, “Aerobics.”

1974: Richard Simmons opens the Simmons exercise studio.

2006: Nintendo introduces the Wii.

2010: Michelle Obama introduces “Let’s Move Campaign” to fight childhood obesity.