When did exercise become a necessary/highly desired part of the ordinary person’s ordinary routine? I know there’s research that suggests that in the past 40 years or so, Americans have gotten more sedentary at work while food has gotten cheaper and more calorie-rich. So is it in this time period that the need for extra physical effort became necessary? What did people do to stay fit–if they did anything–in the 1960s? 50s? In the 40s I assume rationing helped keep Americans slim, and in the 30s everyone was broke. Before that, I’m going to assume most Americans didn’t get as much to eat as we do today and/or worked their asses off.
Also, maybe this should be its own thread, but do people “work out” in other advanced nations? Japan, France, Poland? From my limited exposure to Britain, I’d say they do not.