March 21, 2014
Fads come and go… The basics never change.

Times are changing. A technological revolution has happened and our lifestyles are significantly different than they were in the past. There is less exercise and more processed foods. You can be sure that these changes are leading to a degradation of our health and well-being. The answer to this is clear, let’s get back to the way we are supposed to live. Let’s eat natural and whole foods, let’s exercise, and let’s get outside and enjoy the outdoors. You may think that I am speaking of today’s health culture and ideas, but I am not. The previous paragraph describes a time when people noticed changes in our lifestyles and wanted to do something about it. This was the 1880’s.

WHAT?! Like, the year eighteen hundred and eighty?.. Yes. 1880. And these ideas were not even new at that time.

I am sure you have seen a number of exercise and nutrition fads over your lifetime. This post is not about those fads, but instead, what is NOT a fad. This is a brief history of health and fitness, and you may be astonished at how things have not changed in the last hundred years.

The 1880’s which saw the birth of a movement known as “Physical Culture.” This movement was a response to the industrial revolution and lasted well into the 20’s and is still felt today. Some of the tenets of the physical culture movement are described below:

1. Eat natural foods. Eliminate white sugar and white flour, along with processed / industrial foods.

2. Mind your intestinal health. These folks were already thinking about the gut and how gut bacteria affects your health.

3. Full body exercise. There was an emphasis on strength training and using your muscles.

4. Walking. They would say that walking is much better that rowing, or riding a horse.

5. Get outside.

6. Circulation. Many of the proponents of physical culture knew that the accountants and lawyers (who were largely sedentary) needed to exercise to maintain their brain power. Today we have the research to understand the mechanism by which exercise increases brain power.

 The entire point of this post is this: we, as humans, continue to look for the magic pill, the next best thing, and the one trick that will help us change forever. But these magic pills do not exist. However, health evangelists have been teaching and preaching some of the same basic and foundational principles of health for over 100 years, and they are just as powerful and effective today as they were then. If we had to boil them down, the rules are simple. Eat natural foods, avoid sugar, exercise, and take care of your body. Also, we now add in the importance of sleep and stress control.

We can also be sure that no matter the current fad, these rules will never lose their value.

Keep at it!


Written by Clark Masterson

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