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The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

Christobal Mendez (1500-1561)

Mendez, Christobal, Book of Bodily Exercise, trans. by Francisco Guerra, ed. by Frederick G. Kilgour, New Haven, CT: Elizabeth Licht, 1960.

Definition Objective
Voluntary movement that causes the breath to become faster and more frequent

Mendez, 9.

Used to clean the body when too full of harmful things; consumes and disintegrates that which may suffocate and disable natural heat by keeping the humidity that encloses it in its proper place, strengthens all the animal vital & natural virtues, cleanses the organs of the senses and dissipates what’s harmful, preserves health completely. 3 things accomplished w/ exercise — 1) greater power in the locations of the virtues, 2) increase in natural heat noticeable in the strong alteration of foodstuff, making digestion greater and more perfect, softens hard things, disintegrates obstructions, widens the passages & makes everything more perfect, 3) movement of the spirits is increased, opening of pores, superfluities pass out and are evacuated.
Frequency Type / Mode 

For men — running, jumping, bowling, breaking horses, hunting, riding, playing horseshoes, quoits, throwing bars or spears, shooting arrows, running in pairs, fencing, playing swords with both hands, clubs.

For delicate men — hunting, dancing, bowling and playing ball.

For women — balls and dances, strolls in the country or gardens.

For Youth — exercises with weapons, playing ball, and controlling a horse in the best possible way.

For Old Age (40+) — ride a mule, walk for a while on foot.

For 70+ — gentle movement

Mendez, 26, 52-54, 67.

Duration Time of Day  Intensity

After the four digestions have been accomplished and finished with perfection, Morning is best

Mendez, 72-73.

Moderate in the proper conditions but excessive exercise will be better than too little

Mendez, 22-26.

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