The History Of Fitness

Jul - 16 2014 | By

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “only the strong will survive”. Survival of the fittest is steeped in Darwinian tradition, leading humans to think that the gene pool favors those able to either fight or flee. Historically, this may have been true – one would have to be in pretty good shape to survive in the wild, surrounded by saber-toothed tigers. You would also have to be in pretty good shape to be a hunter-gatherer. Perhaps that is why, in the early days of recorded civilization, most humans had a life expectancy of around 30 years.


Nomadic peoples will travel as much as 20 miles in one day to not only provide for their clans, but to visit other tribes. Celebrations such as games and dances last for hours. Historically, primitive peoples lived this way, and some tribes do to this day in less modernized parts of the world.

Around 5000 B.C., the Persian Empire claimed ownership of all male children as soon as they turned 6, and, as a matter of training, required extensive physical commitment in the form of riding, marching, and even javelin throwing. As the affluence of the Persian Empire advanced, the level of physical activity declined, as did, ultimately, the empire.



As civilization has advanced, so has motivation. Humans learned to farm and ranch, raising their food so that they would not have to pursue it. Granted, there were the workers who still toiled daily tending crops and flocks, but the emergence of land ownership lead to actual “down time” for human beings. In different parts of the world, this lead to more free time, which meant more thinking. Clever philosophers observed that some diseases became prevalent with the decrease in activity. Diseases with internal organs, probably diabetes and heart disease, became more prevalent. This, probably around 2000 B.C. gave birth to the first recorded exercise regimen. In China, Confucius recommended physical exercise and in India, the beliefs springing from Hinduism and Buddhism pushed people toward a level of physical exertion for the sake of exertion.

Yoga and Kung Fu were developed during these times, and were the first forms of exercise recorded that did not involve putting food on the table. It is estimated that 24 million people today participate in these two forms of exercise, alone.


Time Passages

Through the centuries, civilizations have risen and fallen. It is interesting to note that the more “civilized” a nation becomes, the less fit the citizens are. And equally interesting is the fact that the conquerors are typically less civilized, and more physically fit.

Modern Fitness

People today work to keep themselves in shape, requiring motivation that is not based on survival. The most common way to do this is through accountability. With a workout partner or personal trainer, people are more likely to stay with a regimen.

With the impact of computer and communication technology in today’s world, online trainers and training websites like have begun to fill the gap, providing accountability and coaching from the ether, much like the philosophies of ancient China and India. Online personal training and diet plans are the next step towards keeping fit, whether your short on time, or willpower, online personal training is a great way to organise and stay in shape.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *