Jogging History Overview
Jogging, as an act of running over a distance at a measured pace, has been around since the beginning of man. The earliest cave dwellers who know it was not safe to be out in the wild after dark...
Jogging, as an act of running over a distance at a measured pace, has been around since the beginning of man. The earliest cave dwellers who know it was not safe to be out in the wild after dark, knew from the position of the setting sun, when it was time for them to start moving back to safety at a brisk pace. The hunter, who often had to keep up with this prey over long distances before having a chance to strike, also learned the art of moving at a pace faster than walking over a long distance. These were the first joggers.
When the first human settlements sprang up in pre historic Africa and communities began to interact with ach other, the vast distances to be covered from one place to another made travelling at a walking pace unviable and so people jogged the distances. Perhaps that accounts for the success African nations have historically had in middle and long distance running.
But all this was just a way of covering distances in a shot time. Jogging as a form of exercise and physical training came into existence with the early Romans and Greeks who used slow distance running as a form of training their armies. Since both cultures also encouraged sports, athletes discovered running as a way of keeping fit and increasing endurance.
If we stretch the term jogging to its limits, the first formal form of jogging was perhaps the marathons of the ancient Olympics.
Jogging, in its modern form dates from Medieval Europe. It was at this time that that individual physical fitness became important. Track and field sports had spread all over Europe and since there were as yet no specialized training programs or equipment athletes had only the use of weights to build up their muscles and jogging over long distances to build up their stamina. Even the aristocracy took it up. Noblemen of that time placed a great deal of importance on their skill as swordsmen, both as a measure of social standing and well as at means of self defense in a lawless time when a solitary rich man was thought of a easy picking for a gang of thugs. Using a sword, either for the pleasure of fencing or as a means of self defense, requires far more stamina that most people understand. The only way for this endurance to be developed was by jogging.
The first mention of jogging in print is a reference to it in Shakespeare’s 1593 play, “The Taming of the Shrew.” By the 17th century it had become a common form of exercise all over England since it involved no expensive equipment or special locations.
Jogging was first used in America in the 19th century as part of the training of boxers and football and baseball players. It was called roadwork then and remained a part of formal sports training until the 1960s when Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon’s track coach saw it being used as a form of personal exercise and relaxation in New Zealand and brought the concept home with him. He popularized the idea and over the next few decades it grew into what is today one of the most popular forms of exercise in the country.
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