Gymnasiums are not a new concept by any means – they have been around for thousands of years in one form or another. The word gymnasium is derived from the Greek “gymnos”, meaning “nude”. In Ancient Greece, men trained and competed in the nude (They obviously didn’t have full length mirrors back then.)
Originally, gyms were only intended for the training of men – women were not allowed to train at all. In Ancient Greece, gym was considered extremely important – the Greeks were always off on the quest for the perfection of the body and mind.
Gyms developed still further into places of learning – young Greek men would spend time in lessons when not engaged in improving their physical fitness.
In Ancient Rome, gymnasiums were generally seen as a waste of time – your average Roman considered army training a better alternative.
The gymnasium fell even more out of favour in the Middle Ages as sports became more popular. Jousting was top of the list when it came to getting exercise. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that the old concept of Gymnasiums was revitalised.
In Modern Times
Science has since proven that daily mild to moderate exercise is essential when it comes to maintaining health and well-being. Doctors frequently advise patients to exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight and keep stress levels in check.
Nowadays, your gym membership is part of your ticket to a healthier life. (You do still have to work out there though.)
Gyms today look nothing like their ancient counterparts though – in ancient times, you would exercise, as far as possible, in an open courtyard. Once you were finished exercising, you would carry on to lessons.
Nowadays, gyms are indoor affairs and centres for physical fitness. Fitness has certainly come a long way – I’m sure the Ancient Greeks would be envious.
The History of Gyms