Thomas Jefferson’s Visionary Thoughts on Exercise

“If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong.” Aug 27, 1786 From a letter by Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), one of America’s forefathers lived to be 84 years old with little illness in his lifetime. Prior to 1800 the average life expectancy was 45 years old. By the time children were in their teens, they had lost both grandparents. Jefferson said of exercise, “You should spend at least two hours a day on bodily exercise. However, if you should decide not to, you will someday spend two hours a day taking care of your disease.”

Jefferson was way ahead of his time in realizing the link between body and mind. He felt that the mind as well as the body should be exercised. He wrote his fifteen year old daughter: “It is your future happiness that interests me, and nothing can contribute more to it than the contracting a habit of industry and activity. Of all the cankers of human happiness none corrodes with so silent, yet so baneful a tooth, as indolence. Body and mind both unemployed, our being becomes a burden, and every object about us loathsome, even the dearest. Idleness begets ennui, ennui the hypochondria, and that a diseased body. Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends.”(Emphasis mine.)

To a nephew he wrote, “In order to progress well in your studies, you must take at least two hours a day to exercise; for health must not be sacrificed to learning…Walking is very important. Never think of taking a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk; but divert yourself by the objects surrounding you. Walking is the best possible exercise.”

Words to live by.

I am a huge fan of walking as well. Check out the following blog posts for more:
Why You Should Walk More
National Start Walking Day,
Seniors Who Walk Faster Tend to Live Longer,
Move Ya Body,
How Healthy is Walking?


1 Comment

Filed under Exercise, life expectancy

One response to “Thomas Jefferson’s Visionary Thoughts on Exercise

  1. Pingback: Majority of British Seniors Exercise – Survey | Two Regular Guys Talking about Food, Exercise and Men's Health

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s