Exercising in the 1830s

Isn’t it the worst, when your days are jam packed with needlepoint and society gatherings? When all you really want to do, is practice your Dumb-bell skills?

Worry no further, dear lady, because Walkers: Exercise for ladies, calculated to preserve and improve beauty and to prevent and correct personal defects, founded on physiological principles (SB 613.17 Wal, 1836), is the only book you require! Gone are the days of slovenly horse riding posture and back pain from hunching over your writing desk.

front imageswriting posture

Walker’s book is filled with illustrations and instructions on the art of ‘passive’, ‘mixed’ and ‘active’ exercises for ladies.

Passive exercises were those which didn’t use much energy and were low impact, such as not allowing others to push you while you are on a swing.

Mixed exercises were an activity that used your own energy and that of a foreign force. Horse-riding would be one such exercise.


Active exercises included walking, Dumb-bell and Indian Sceptre routines.

indian septre

exercises with dumb-bells image


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