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The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

Tobias Venner

Venner, Tobias, Via Recta ad Vitam Longam.  Or a plain philosophical demonstration. . ., London: R. Bishop for Henry Hood, 1638.

Definition Objective

Exercise increases the natural heat, excites & dilates the spirits, the concoction & distribution holpen, attenuates the humors, resolves windinesse, furthers the expulsion of all excrement, strengthens the body, & prolongs youth.

Venner, 287.
Frequency Type / Mode 

Walking (especially after meat), bowling, the racket and such like easy exercises.  The phlegmatick needs strong & laborious exercises while the cholerick needs easy & light exercises.  Frication or rubbing should be used instead of exercise for those who suffer great weakness.

Venner, 290, 292-4.
Duration Time of Day  Intensity

Use exercise after the 1st & 2nd digestions & the time to eat again approaches.  Time (at least .5hr) must be observed between exercise and the following meal.  Also before exercise the excrements of the belly & bladder should be expulsed.  Exercise should also not be done in the heat of the day.  For the phlegmatick: speedy walks in the morning, up hills & other steep places.  Summer-light exercises, Spring-somewhat stronger, Autumn & Winter - strong & laborious motion recommended.  Morning & evening best for frication.

Venner, 289-90, 292-3, 295.

Measure of exercise by 2 things: (1) the bursting forth of sweat & hot vapours, and (2) the weariness of the limbs

Venner, 291.

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