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History of Health

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Evangelos Albanidis
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The purpose of this study is to select and process information regarding views by Greek philosophers, educators and physicians about the sanitary role of athletic exercise and their objections to the over-training of athletes. We have focused on the salutary speech of philosophers, educators and physicians in antiquity from the classical to imperial times. The doctrine of the “mean” was one of the main characteristics of Greek thought. So, it was natural for Hippocratic physicians, Plato and Aristoteles to follow the spirit of moderation expressing views about sport. They claimed that any exaggeration could turn against nature and clearly declared that over training is always wrong. The Stoican philosophy and the Second Sophistics Movement during the Imperial era contributed to the development of a philosophical sanitary reflection. During this era, the movement of self caring (ἐπιμέλεια ἐαυτοῦ) and the anxiety and concern for the body was developed. Galenus criticized athletic exercise - at least when it was practiced - for its lack of moderation and he presented a limited number of cases of misapplication of medical principle, and a perfect example of the dangers of pushing the body to extremes.