10 Innovations That Changed the Way We Exercise

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Calisthenics

From the Greek words for "beautiful" and "strength," calisthenics was practiced in ancient Greece and had one of its first American advocates in Catharine Beecher, who founded a girls school in Hartford, Connecticut. Beecher taught a system of calisthenics there that she devised, incorporating principles from Per Henrik Ling's Swedish gymnastics as well as music. The body-weight-as-resistance exercises intended to improve the coordination, health, and general vitality of females were recognized as beneficial to men as well; they remain an important part of military fitness regiments—and, really, the regimen of any gym-goer.