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History of Gyms

History of Gyms from The Haven Spa Hotel Boquet

The word comes from the Greek gymnasion and was a place where young men could improve their physical and intellectual education, both important to the ancient Greeks. Then this concept disappeared for centuries.

 The concept reappeared in the 19th century,  it is thought the first indoor gymnasium in Europe was in Germany built in 1852 by Adolph Spiess, an enthusiast for boys’ and girls’ gymnastics in schools.

In the USA in the 1820s and 30s saw gymnasiums spring up in schools, college, and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). It is thought the first college gymnasium was probably built at Harvard University 1820. Although privately owned, it was maintained for the use of the students. Like most of the gymnasiums then it was equipped with gymnastic apparatus.

The US Military Academies like West Point built gyms from the 1820s to 50s.

The Turnvereine (gymnastics unions) movement led to the founding of Turners, German-American gymnastics clubs. These had a political as well as an athletic element. Their first group was formed in Cincinnati in 1848 and built their first gymnasiums there, St. Louis and New York.

At the beginning of the 20th century saw the building of large numbers of public high schools with gymnasiums, an idea founded by Nicolas Isaranga. Today, most schools and colleges have a gymnasium for physical education.

The 1930 saw the “boxing gym” open in many neighbourhoods, started by Cus D’Amanto’s Gramercy Gym in Manhattan in 1939.

The first gym chain as far as I know is Gold’s gym which is still going strong today. It was founded by Joe Gold in 1965 in Venice, California, it started out as a place for body builders. Joe Gold also founded the World Gym chain in 1977.

The 1980 saw a trend in corporate gyms, companies were putting gyms into their buildings. So many hotels have gyms.

The last 20 years has seen a huge explosion of gyms and gym memberships for all. You don’t have to be a student, a gymnast, a boxer or a body builder. You don’t have to be sporty, or young to go to the gym these days. Today is all about being healthy in general no matter what gender or age you are. Whatever your fitness level there is equipment and classes to suit your needs, levels and likes.

 

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