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The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

Galen (129-210 A.D.)

Galen, De Sanitate Tuenda, trans. by Robert Montraville Green, Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1951.

Galen, Galen: Selected Works, trans. P. N. Singer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).
Definition Objective
Movement that changes respiration, best exercises are those that not only exert the body but also delight the soul.

Evacuation of the excrements & good condition of the firm parts of the body — hardness of the organs from mutual attrition, increase of the intrinsic warmth, and accelerated movement of respiration, readier metabolism, better nutrition & diffusion of all substances, solids are softened, liquids diluted and ducts dilated. Benefits of exercises with small ball--accessibility, most sufficient, and exercises the entire body.

Galen, de sanitate tuenda, 53-54; Selected Works, 299.

Frequency Type / Mode 

Wrestling, pancratium, boxing, running, pitylism, ecplethrism, shadow-fighting, acrocheirism, leaping, discus-throwing, exercising the body with the corycus and with a ball, pulling ropes, work— such as digging, rowing, ploughing, pruning, burden-bearing, reaping, riding, fighting, walking, hunting, fishing and other things practiced for a living.

Galen, de sanitate tuenda, 79; Selected Works, 59, 92, 299-304.

Duration Time of Day  Intensity

Determined by own nature or trainer will stop exercise if observes any of these signs:

1) body takes on swelling,

2) flush prevails,

3) motions become ready, even and rhythmical, or

4) observe perspiration, mixed with warm vapor, exercise should cease as soon as the body begins to suffer.

Galen, de sanitate tuenda, 77, 93-94; Selected Works, 376.

Before Meals

Galen, 54-55.

Determined by own nature

Galen, 77.

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