“FITNESS, EXERCISE, WORKOUT, AEROBICS…….” this is what we hear today from every other person. Is this a new invention or a new fad?? Well, it is a realization, humans have attained in this busy sedentary lifestyle with an increasing amount of diseases adding on at a very early age. Exercise has been into existence since the evolution of human beings; then it was “RUN FOR LIFE” and not a structured program. Human beings had to save themselves from predators and hunt their food, thus they had a lot of strenuous activity which included aerobics, strengthening, endurance, proprioception which added to their health and indirectly prevented many health issues.
The transition from nomads to Agricultural revolution transferred the human culture to a more civilized and uniform manner, nevertheless exercise was a daily routine. People worked in the farms, ploughed the land, sowed seeds, harvested the crop, the intensity of exercise was still high. However today, we have reached a phase where we are advised to perform high-intensity exercises only a few days of the week added with rest or leisure due to decreased human sustainability. Further, man got involved in the community and started travelling from one village to another, which again was by walk, and meeting relatives or friends was leisure.
Next came the age of emperors who encouraged trade activities among the masses followed by a decrease in physical activity promoting the birth of structured uniform exercises, where the soldiers, were trained for their performances in the war.
History of the development of exercise physiology reveals that awareness of exercise and health is not new and has roots with the ancients but gradually faded during the transition. Ayurveda emphasized the importance of Vyayama (exercise) 2000 years ago for the promotion & maintenance of health along with the aetiology of diseases due to excessive physical activity and lack of physical activity.
Another scholar, Marcus Cicero, who prevailed around the 65 BC, acknowledged that “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigour”. Plato stated that “lack of physical activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise saves and preserves it”. Hippocrates of Greece also suggested exercise for the management of disease.
Nonetheless, as man progressed towards civilization, trading became a major source of income; activities started reducing from high intensity to low. This made way for structured exercises like walking & jogging, not as a daily routine but those activities which required special classes and time allocation from our daily routine to reduce stress and prevent diseases, marking the era of evolution of the field of exercise physiology; emphasizing the importance of physical activity for healthy living. Even modern science, which suggested a lot of rest after an injury, is now changing to quick recovery by early mobilization.