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The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise

A. F. M. Willich

Willich, A.F.M, MD, Lectures on Diet and Regimen, New York: T. and J. Swords, 1801.

Definition Objective

Preservation of Health

For Children — become more hardy & less affected by the vicissitudes of climate & weather, straight & robust body, texture of their muscular flesh becomes solid, the color blooming, and the body neither appears tumid & spongy not parched and meagre, the complexion is lively & fresh.

Exercise increases bodily strength, promotes the circulation of the blood and all other fluids, performs the necessary secretions and excretions, clears and refines the whole mass of blood so that it cannot stagnant in the minutest capillary vessels, and if any obstruction should begin to take place, it will thus be effectually removed. Promotes perspiration.

Willich, 67-68, 303, 360.
Frequency Type / Mode 

Willich, 303, 361.
Active — walking, running, leaping, swimming, riding, fencing, the military exercise, different sorts of athletic games, as well as every other kind that requires muscular exertion.
Passive — riding in a carriage, sailing, friction, swinging, & c.
Handball, cricket, speaking, carousels, singing, friction.

Willich, 304, 314-317.
Duration Time of Day  Intensity
Determining duration of exercise is highly variable and dependent on many situations.  Of the 24hrs/day, six should be devoted to meals, amusements or recreations.

Willich, 305, 451.
Rules regulating time in which exercise is most proper are so dependant on a variety of circumstances that there is no universal rule, but . . . muscular motion is most agreeable & healthful in the forenoon, when the stomach is empty or not too much distended.  Exercise is also hurtful directly after meals.

Willich, 304-307.
Moderate, continuing exercise until a profuse perspiration or great lassitude is unwholesome, exercise ought to be continued only till we feel an agreeable lassitude & a sensible degree of perspiration.

Willich, 303, 306, 318, 361.
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