Paleolithic movement harks back to “physical culture” of past

Eliza Barclay had a nice post on NPR recently (on the Shots health blog) that examined similarities between a century-old fitness philosophy and the modern paleo movement. She writes,

As Hamilton Stapell, a historian at the State University of New York, New Paltz, found when he went digging into the archives of physical culture, there are striking resemblances to the paleo movement today. And, he argues, this shows that people seem to romanticize a healthier past in the midst of great societal upheaval: the Industrial Revolution, in the case of physical culture; and the digital revolution, in the case of paleo.

“The problem, according to physical culture and paleo, is modern civilization,” Stapell tells Shots. “With so much change, people reject overconsumption of food, alcohol and mainstream medicine, and look for ways to get back to nature. Both movements have a clear sense of going back to the past to fix the present, and a willingness to throw out what’s normal and acceptable to try an alternative.”

It’s an interesting read; find the full piece here.

Edmond Desbonnet (1868-1953) opened the first of his many schools of physical culture in Lille in 1895. Caption and image of color lithograph from Wellcome Library.


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