Advancing health through science, education and medicine

The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

Mary Taylor Bissell

Bissell, Mary Taylor, MD, Physical Development and Exercise for Women, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1893.

Definition Objective

Exercise — involves the idea of repeated practice, something done again & again, possibly for pleasure only, but generally with an idea of perfecting ourselves in the practice.  When these muscular movements are repeated and practiced that they can be dignified by the name of exercise, or demand any results, either in skill or strength or agility or general bodily vigor.

Bissell, 67.

Exercise is important in bodily development, particularly the movement of the muscles & helps to facilitate the growth of the skeleton.

Exercise will make women more a woman in every sense than they could possibly be without it. It will: improve every organ used in movement, supple all the joints so that grace and ease will belong to them, make fatigue less frequent & breathlessness uncommon, give one a bigger chest & more supple limbs & some force in the arms, clear away the fog in the brain, & the dyspepsia in your stomach & bring you a rose for your cheek.

Exercise will reduce fat in the body.

Bissell, 59, 62, 68, 75.

Frequency Type / Mode 

Daily, but add to it gymnasium practice at least three times/week.

Bissell, 87, 89.

Climbing stairs, running, swinging of Indian clubs, piano-practice, ordinary gymnastic practice, tennis, archery, cricket, swimming, rowing, skating, riding, singing, skipping & hopping games, breathing exercises, circle exercises, thrusting, club swinging, trunk bending.

Bissell, 71-2, 81, 83-5, 94-99.

Duration Time of Day  Intensity

An hour.

Every girl requires an amount of daily exercise not to be gained by less than a two to four mile walk.

Bissell, 86-7.

For vigorous persons — before breakfast.

For delicate persons — two hours after breakfast, or between four & five in the afternoon.

Bissell, 108.


© Copyright American College of Sports Medicine

Featured Publication

   Read the latest evidence-based research for conducting exercise stress testing for young patients in the text backed by ACSM...

» Read More