Advancing health through science, education and medicine

The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

Richard Mulcaster (1531-1611)

Mulcaster, Richard, Positions, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1888.

Definition Objective

A vehement, and a voluntary stirring of ones body, which alters the breathing whose ends is to maintain health and to bring the body to a very good habit

Mulcaster, 53.

Helps nature by motion in all these her workings and ways for health: to increase and encourage the natural heat, that it may digest quickly and expel strongly: to fashion and frame all the parts of the body to their natural and best hauious: to help to rid the needless and superfluous humors: refuse and rejected excrements.  Running— warms the body, strengthens the natural motions, provokes appetitie, helps against distilling of humors and cattarah, Dancing — drys away numbness & certain palsies , comforts the stomach, strenthens weak hips, faint legs & freatishing feet, Riding— healthful for the hips and stomach, clears the instruments of all the senses, thickens thin shankes, stays loose bellies.

Mulcaster, 45, 48-49.

Frequency Type / Mode 

Moderate running, dancing, riding, walking, leaping, swimming, hunting, shooting, & playing at the ball.

Mulcaster, 48, 49, 54.

Duration Time of Day  Intensity

Winter or summer, morning or evening, before meat, fair weather, little wind, not to much cold.

Mulcaster 88, 116.

Very moderate to avoid altering to much for fear of great distemperature, Signs at which to stop exercise —  1) when a vapor mingled with sweat is sensibly perceived to proceed from the body, when the veins begin to swell, and the breathing to alter & 2) continue as long as the face and body have a fresh color, the motion shall be quick and in proportion and no weariness worth the speaking shall be felt.

Mulcaster 45, 118-119.

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