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The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

Thomas Elyot (1490-1546)

Elyot, Thomas, The Castel of Helthe, New York : Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints, 1937.

Definition Objective
Movement that changes breath or wind of man

Evacuation of excrements & good habit of the body — hardness of the members, body be more strong to labour, augmentation of heat, more attraction of things to be digested, more quick alteration and better nourishing, all and singular parts of the body be somewhat humected, things hard be mollified, moist things are extenuated and the pores of the body are more opened, by violence of breath, the pores are cleansed and the filth in the body naturally expelled.

Elyot, Thomas, The Boke Named the Governour, London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1907.

Frequency Type / Mode 
Strong or Violent exercises -- Deluynge, bearing or sustaining of heavy burdens, climbing or walking against a steep upright hill, holding a rope and climbing up, hanging by the hands on anything above a mans reach, that his feet do not touch the ground, standing and holding up or spreading the arms with the hands fast closed, abiding for a long time, wrestling. Swift exercise w/o violence-- running, playing with weapons, tennis, throwing of a ball, trotting a space of ground forward and backward, going up on the toes and holding up the hands. Vehement exercise— dancing of galyardes, throwing of ball and running after it, football play, throwing of long dart and continuing it, running in harneys. Moderate exercise — long walking or going to a tourney.
Duration Time of Day  Intensity
End of violent exercise is difficulty in fetching of breath, end of moderate exercise is alteration of breath only or the beginning of sweat.

Before Meals

Elyot, (Castle), 46-50.

Moderate & middle between every extreme

Elyot (Governour), 112.


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