This Is What The First Ever Gyms Looked Like

INSHPublished: November 30, 2017Updated: December 2, 2017178 plays$0.45 earned
Published: November 30, 2017Updated: December 2, 2017

Nowadays, many of us have gym membership or attend classes at a local gym on a daily basis, but fifty years ago, gyms as we know them today didn’t exist.

When fitness first became fashionable you had to get your sweat-on while strapped to extremely strange contraptions, but was it workout, or torture?

Surprising but true, the stomach punching apparatus, the thigh extender and the torso stretcher are not instruments of torture, but are actually the first fitness machines. Could you believe their names and the purpose they served?

In 1865, Swedish physician Gustav Zander opened Stockholm’s first gym. His machines allowed the user to be active or passive, as they wanted, according to his wish. You could ride a mechanical horse, or let it do all the riding for you. It was nothing like modern-day workouts.

Back then, the movement for health and exercise was just taking off in Europe. People began using their muscles for something other than physical labor. White-collar workers started working out to make up for their sedentary lifestyle. Wealthier people even bought very expensive equipment to exercise at home.

In the early 1900s, Zander’s machines began making their way to the U.S. In 1906, gyms were being opened in 146 countries around the world. Some of these machines were even found on the Titanic. However, they disappeared by the 1930s and were replaced by smaller equipment.

Nowadays, we can sweat away on modern versions of the Victorian treadmills. Old-fashioned but good!

The word “gym” is a contraction of “gymnasium” which is derived from the ancient Greek word gymnasion. The ancient Greek gymnasiums were places where athletes trained for public games such as the Olympics.After the ancient Greeks, gyms disappeared for centuries. Medieval and Renaissance life was physically arduous enough, and ordinary people got all the exercise they needed working on the land and carrying out chores.

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