"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How can busy people stay fit and healthy? Here's what the traditional Greeks and Romans did.

Many people nowadays worry about how one can find time to remain fit and healthy within the midst of their busy lives. Believe it or not, this was also an issue in precedent days.

So, how did the ancients cope with it?

A universal problem

Galen, a physician who lived from 129 to 216 AD, treated hundreds of patients in town of Rome.

He used to complain that some people don't spend enough time to remain fit. In his paper, hygenic, Galen wrote to one in every of his patients, a philosopher called Primaginus, was such a workaholic he was all the time inside writing books. Because of this poor lifestyle, the Primigians became ailing.

Galen said preemies have to work less, and spend more time exercising and getting some sun.

18th century portrait of Galen, by George Paul Bosch.
Wikimedia Commons

Almost 2,000 years later, most of us can relate. The World Health Organization has several. Recommendations For the quantity of exercise per week. But balancing work and other commitments with our health and well-being will be difficult.

The trade-off of a busy life

People from the Greco-Roman era recognized that being busy had health effects.

Lucian, the writer of the Samosata of the second century AD, has discussed in his essay. to salaried posts in great houses About how certain jobs didn't allow employees time to keep up their health. Poor weight loss plan, infinite toil and lack of sleep all contributed to creating them unhealthy:

Lack of sleep, sweating and fatigue regularly weakens you, giving rise to consumption, pneumonia, indigestion, or that great criticism, gout. However, you place it out, and sometimes you have to be in bed, nevertheless it's not allowed. They see illness as an excuse, and a strategy to avoid your duties. Common results are that you just are all the time pale and appear like you will die at any moment.

Doctors of the time also noted this problem. Galen saidin his opinion, one in every of the determinants of whether or not we're in a position to stay healthy is the quantity of free time we've.

He acknowledged that some people had no selection but to “be bound by the conditions of their activities” – reminiscent of those taken into slavery – but noted that others felt that

Having chosen a life trapped within the conditions of their activities, either through desires or through any sort of desire, they're able to spend the least period of time on caring for his or her bodies.

Galen was also affected by this problem. As a physician he had little free time, and his routine was often interrupted by the issues of his patients. nevertheless, He explains How, in her 20s, she began following a every day health routine:

After reaching the age of 28, I had convinced myself that hygiene was an art, followed its principles for the remainder of my life, and had nothing but an occasional fever. He didn't get sick from the disease.

This routine includes eating a full meal every evening, and doing a little type of exercise day by day. One of those exercises can have been wrestling, as he also mentioned dislocating his shoulder while wrestling in a gym at age 35.

Greek pottery, circa 470BC-460BC, showing athletes wrestling.
The British Museum

One advantage of Galen's routine was its flexibility. He needed to take a while day by day to eat and exercise his body.

They said Many other doctors of his era weren't healthy. They worked an excessive amount of, ate and drank an excessive amount of, and didn't exercise enough.

However, Galen was not saying that everybody must have their very own routine. She notes that everybody's temperament is different, and other people should adopt routines that suit their bodies.

How the ancients kept fit.

A wealthy Athenian named Ascomachus, who lived within the fifth century BC, kept fit by exercising. Daily commute.

When he had to enter town, he ran or walked or alternated between the 2. He used to do the identical when visiting his farm. Even the famous philosopher Socrates praised Asomachus for being so efficient and healthy despite all the time being busy with guarantees.

Galen beneficial that every one people should. Play ball games Keeping fit involves running and throwing. He thought ball games were a superb option because they exercised the entire body and didn't require lots of money or equipment.

Portrait of Galen from an unknown publication, circa 1500-1600.
The British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA

For his obese patients, he would. Make a recommendation A brisk running routine and a slimming weight loss plan—one meal a day, consisting of foods that might fill the patient's stomach, but which were “poorly nutritious.”

A physician of the seventh century AD, also Paul of Aegina How to identify Some people let their busy schedules get in the best way of their health.

He describes the form of one that used to have healthy habits, but due to busyness now not follows them:

A one that spends his time in business should consider whether he was within the habit of exercise within the ancient times of life or whether he would have tolerated the habit well without taking exercise and would have avoided diseases by getting free. Is. sweat

Paul suggests that busy people lighten their commitments and resume their old routines as much as possible. He said that if he can't exercise like before, he can no less than eat healthy. The worst thing can be to provide up each healthy eating and exercise.

Developing healthy habits

Philosopher Aristotle said Health is partly a matter of private responsibility. If one leads an unhealthy lifestyle and doesn't follow the recommendation of doctors, it isn't surprising, Aristotle thought, if one becomes unhealthy.

In general, ancients believed that it was as much as each individual to seek out flexible habits that might help them stay fit. And while it could be difficult, they thought it was needed to live the great life – as we do today.

It seems that some things about being human never change.