From the eBook: Inventing Fitness Pt I The Greeks, A Society, and it’s Strength available on Amazon.com
Multiple centuries before complicated exercise equipment a student here used a variety of innovative methods to begin building his physique.
In the National Archeological Museum of Athens sit a pair of Halteres. These, the original dumbbells are carved of stone with handles at the top devised to help an athlete’s long jump. This method is clearly seen painted on the Amphora vases along with multiple gymnastai holding their characteristic cane reeds used for smacking the naked back of a student to get his attention.
“He who is only an athlete is too crude, too vulgar, too savage. He who is a scholar only too soft, too effeminate. The ideal citizen, the man of thought, the man of action.” – PLATO
With their competitive nature and early attention to physical activity, it seems the ancient greeks honed in on the releasing of endorphins. Those chemicals the body produces that stimulate receptors in the brain boosting confidence. The correlation between physical activity and brain stimulation began.
Gymnasiums became places to challenge the mind as well as the body. One could come to Aristotles “strolling school” and hear lectures on any number of topics. With all the running, jumping, and wrestling testosterone surely ran high and clear they became inspired to not only delve xeep into their own minds, but those of their counterparts.
In our 21st century fitness clubs we tend to follow an unwritten rule of avoiding certain topics and conversations and go about our routines keeping to ourselves. 2500 years ago after generations of legends, young men began to focus on logic, morals, and ethics. They came to discuss important topics and what was on their minds.
What inspires you?