The growth of gymnastics in Germany can be mainly attributed to the work of two physical educators : Johann Guts Muths and Friedrich Jahn. Johann Guts Muths is generally referred to as the « Grandfather of German gymnastics ». He invented several exercise programs and equipment on which they were performed. All his works and achievements are in 2 books – Gymnastics for youth and games.
Friedrich Jahn earned the title of « Father of German gymnastics » for its long-term work. It was early in the Jahn’s life that Napoleon had conquered much of Europe including Germany. With the fall of France (Napoleon), Germany was divided into two separate states. Jahn’s passion for German nationalism and independence had become the driving force behind his creations of gymnastics programs. He believed that the invasion of Germany by a foreign country could be prevented by the physical development of the German people. Soon, exercise facilities that contained devices designed for running, jumping, balancing, climbing and vaulting called Turnvereins were spread throughout Germany.
Pehr Henrik Ling has developed and introduced its own gymnastics program in Sweden that was composed of 3 different areas: 1) educational gymnastics 2) military gymnastics 3) Medical gymnastics. Ling who had a strong medical background had recognized that exercises were necessary for all people. He maintained that exercise programs should be designed to individual differences. Ling also believed that physical educators must possess knowledge of the effects of exercise on the human body. Ling was using science and physiology for a better understanding of the importance of fitness.
That’s all for today. Soon the rest of the fitness history