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Gyms are sports centers that have gained great popularity in recent years. Now they not only have weight machines, but also provide a range of services. From spinning routines, dance or yoga classes, focused training such as body pump, among others. However this was not always so. Have you ever wondered what a gym was like in the 19th century? Or better yet, how were these types of spaces that worship the physicist born?
In this article we will meet Gustav Zander, the creator of many of the machines that are used to this day.
Zander was a doctor and had the great idea of creating the first sports space with equipment at his Stockholm institute in 1890. He worried about finding some way to keep the body healthier through “progressive effort,” systematic use and controlled muscles so that the body develops its potential.
To do this, he created a hundred machines that aimed to emulate usual activities of the time, such as rowing or cycling. This is how he invented the first models of many equipment that are currently used in gyms.
However, in the beginning the Zander gym was used to treat children and workers. The Swedish state financed its project and was accessible to both upper class and lower class people. Gustav considered that the system of his machines could correct physical problems of birth, as well as those generated by occupational accidents.
At the beginning of the twentieth century he took his creations to the United States and sought ways to capture a new type of customers. He promoted his machines as "a preventive against the evils generated by a sedentary life and confinement in the office", therefore, the exercise was health. In this way, in the US their teams became popular among the wealthiest classes and the workers.
The first successful exercise machine was the Zander horse, a device that optimized people's muscle tone, mobility and balance. The horse-shaped team was called "Wondercycle Mecanic Exerciculator" and generated large sales in that period.
Likewise, the Carolyn de la Peña Academy, from the University of California, wrote a statement in Cabinet magazine mentioning that for the first time physical fitness was associated with a balanced body and not just with the ability to do physical and routine tasks.
The evolution of gyms in history
The demand of lovers of iron and sports, is increasingly demanding. Because of this, gyms have evolved throughout history and continue in a process of improvement.
This was definitely going to happen. In the nineteenth century there was no bodybuilding as such, much less the famous fitness trend, by which we are bombarded daily in social networks and mass media.
The managers, businessmen and owners of these spaces have adapted to the new needs of their audience, which is why there are currently different types of gyms.
According to Antonia Gómez of REVIEWBOX.COM.MX, we find up to five types of gyms, among which are: traditional, franchises, boutiques, low-cost clubs, studios and medical centers. It also mentions the differences between a traditional gym and one that belongs to a franchise.
‘’ Traditional gyms are the classic spaces in which specific areas of the body are trained with the use of classic but efficient machines. There are routines established according to the objective of the person, and a series of repetitions and series is fulfilled. Simply put, they have what it takes, ’’ he says.
Moreover, the expert mentions franchise gyms. It states that these types of centers are part of a specific chain and often have an extremely attractive infrastructure. In addition, they provide a series of additional services unlike traditional spaces. ‘’ When a gym is part of a franchise it works like a brand, then it must be differentiated from the other options. Therefore, it offers a series of services and disciplines. From wet and dry sauna, yoga classes, zumba, spinning, etc ’,” he says.