Fitness techniques and concerns are old news
By Anas Adam Ashoor - Staff Reporter
Highline Physical Education Instructor Tim Vagen said that one of the main points he wanted to get across in the History of Fitness, was that most fitness programs and practices date back to early times.
"The purpose of the talk was to show everyone that nothing is new," Vagen said.
History Seminar is a series of weekly presentations given by Highline faculty or guests that explore particular topics of interest, that are related to history.
Vagen explained how fitness has changed over the years and how it affected the early people's lifestyle. Pre-10,000 BC was the first recorded time people required extra exercise, which consisted of hunting and gathering. This lifestyle was very tiresome and hard on the body, and knowing this, the people from that time took it upon themselves to exercise regularly to accommodate their tough lifestyle.
Fitness as a sport dates back to the 1800s.
That is when it shifted from "I need to be fit" to "I want to be fit." The early Chinese encouraged physical activity as a method to prevent organ malfunctions.
One of the most common things people hear in terms of
fitness is "working out keeps us healthy."
It turns out that this was known and practiced since ancient China.
The organ malfunctions the Chinese were referring to is heart disease.
A game that was also very popular with them was Cuju, more commonly known as soccer.
The most common sport in the world dates back to 300 BC. Going a few centuries for-
ward, the Persian Empire (4000-250 BC) strictly demand- ed fitness for their people. They did that because their citizens could be drafted into the army at a moments notice.
Workouts were required, said Vagen. "Daily workouts were required in the Zurkhaneh (House of strength)" Vagen said.
Zurkhaneh was an octagonal shaped ring where people would enter and do workouts.
Greek gods are well known today for their amazing physiques and good looks, and those beliefs were not misplaced. Vagen said that in ancient Greece, physical fitness was appreciated and it was a sign of beauty.
He also mentioned that it was a sign of good mental health, and even the practitioners promoted physical fitness.
Anyone who wasn't physically fit was ostracized and
shunned, and in rare cases even killed. This was also the time that fitness was introduced as a recreation.
In the time period of 1700- 1850, Europe made a big move towards promoting physical fitness.
There were programs for children, gymnastic centers were opened for the public and exercise became a cure for stress.
They also pushed for individual exercise programs. This is the time fitness moved to- wards a "want" rather than a "need."
Next week's History Seminar will be presented by Karen Anderson, on May 22, the topic is to be announced.