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The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

William W. Hall

Hall, William W., MD, Dyspepsia, and it Kindred Diseases, New York: R. Worthington, 1877.

Hall, William W., MD, “Gymnasiums” in The Guidebook to Health, Peace and Competence; or, The Road to Happy Old Age, Springfield, Mass.: D.E. Fisk and Company, 1869.

Hall, William W., MD, Health and Disease; A Book for the People, New York: H. B. Price, 1859.

Definition Objective

Exercise is health-producing, because it works off & out of the system its waste, dead, & effete matters.  Exercise improves the health because every step a man takes tends to impart motion to the bowels; a proper amount of exercise keeps them acting once in every 24 hrs.   Exercise is healthful because the more we exercise the faster we breathe.  If we breathe faster we take that much more air into the lungs; but it is the air we breathe which purifies the blood, and the more air we take in, the more perfectly is that process performed; the purer the blood is, and as every body knows, the better the health must be.

Hall, Dyspepsia, 245-6.

The role of exercise for the sedentary is to work off, push out from the body all that is foreign, old, and useless; and to replace these with strong, well-made particles, thus keeping the system clean of all rubbish, & replenishing it with what is new & perfect.

Hall, Health & Disease, 194.

Frequency Type / Mode 

Daily, after each meal

Hall, Dyspepsia, 108.

Ascending a hill or stairs ‘with all your might’ or running in the woods with ones mouth shut, inflating an India-rubber-life preserver, horse-back riding.

Hall, Health & Disease, 184-6, 189.

Duration Time of Day  Intensity

Two or three hours/day

Hall, Dyspepsia, 108 and Guideboard, 464.

Morning, before commencing study,   is the best time to exercise for preserving and invigorating health.

Severe & active exercise should never be done on a full stomach, nor immediately before or after a meal.  The laborer should exercise an hr. before breakfast, perform hardest labor between breakfast & dinner & work moderately after dinner.  The sedentary should exercise when the stomach is partially empty.  Evening exercise is not objectionable.

Loughborough, 123-4, 200-1.

For exercise to be healthful, strength must be expended equably, steadily& deliberately.

Hall, Dyspepsia, 241.

The exercise of the student should be regular, gentle, deliberate, always stopping short of felt fatigue.

Hall, Guideboard, 464 and Health and Disease, 191.

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