The first fitness machines in the 19th century – 2Tout2Rien

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These are probably the first fitness machines that were used in the institute of Dr. Gustav Zander from Stockholm founded in 1965. A kind of forefather of the gym equipped with twenty-seven custom-made machines on which the patients exercised. Zander was convinced that exercise with his therapeutic machines could correct a number of physical deficiencies and various ailments caused by birth accidents or heavy labor. As a follower of the movement cure promoted by exercise pioneer Per Henrik Ling, Zander argued that the key to health was not intense acrobatics but “progressive effort,” a controlled and systematic engagement of the muscles of the body to develop strength. Shortly after becoming a qualified doctor in 1864, he put his ideas into practice at a school in Stockholm by building prototype machines for students. His machines used weights and levers that could be stretched and moved in order to adjust the resistance according to the strength of each individual. Another set of weights and levers offset the weight of the user’s body or limbs. For those who were paralyzed or extremely weak, assisted or motorized machines prevented the affected muscles from atrophying. After noticing a remarkable improvement in the strength and health of his subjects at this school, Zander opened a medical-mechanical institute in Stockholm to promote his machines. While other doctors were initially skeptical of the effects of this new therapy, with evidence of improvement in patients, a growing number of professionals around the world ended up endorsing Zander’s therapy, allowing him to open a second institute in London. Zander’s machines caused a stir at the 1876 International and Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, earning him the award for best mechanical design. The industrialization and mechanization of the latter part of the 19th century expanded the number of clerks, and Zander began to market his machines to this new emerging class. According to him, his machines offered “a preventive against the evils caused by a sedentary life and the isolation of the office”. By the turn of the century, his machines were in health centers across the United States, as well as in private institutes such as the one Zander established near New York’s Central Park. Access to these machines was a mark of social status that reflected a sedentary lifestyle free of physical labor. The era was fond of technology in the service of health, see for example the 4-cell galvanic bath of Dr. Snow. After the death of Gustav Zander in 1920, his machines and his contribution to physical therapy were almost forgotten, until his concepts were rediscovered in the last decades of the 20th century. Some of their fitness machines also seem to have inspired sports equipment now found in many gyms and others. More physical than the sports machines of the 1940s, here are some images of the first fitness machines of the 19th century taken from the 1892 book Dr. G. Zander’s medico-mechanische Gymnastik: all photos: Tekniska Museet/t/National Science Museum and of technology, Stockholm via a fun and mashable planet Without fitness machines, also discover a few years later Jean Saidman’s revolving solariums Tags19th century , device, bodybuilding, fitness, machine, bodybuilding, health, care, Stockholm, Sweden, therapy, vintage
#fitness #machines #19th #century #2Tout2Rien

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