A gymnasium is an open air and covered location for gymnastics and athletics.


1   Etymology

The word gymnasium is the latinisation of the Greek noun γυμνάσιον (gymnasion), "gymnastic school", in pl. "bodily exercises" and generally "school"[2] which in turn is derived from the common Greek adjective γυμνός (gymnos) meaning "naked",[3] by way of the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), whose meaning is "to train naked", "train in gymnastic exercise", generally "to train, to exercise".

The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Athletes competed nude, a practice said to encourage aesthetic appreciation of the male body and a tribute to the gods.

The Greek word gymnasium means "school for naked exercise" and was used to designate a locality for the education of young men, including physical education (gymnastics, i.e. exercise) which was customarily performed naked, as well as bathing, and studies. For the Greeks, physical education was considered as important as cognitive learning. Most Greek gymnasia had libraries that could be utilized after relaxing in the baths.

2   History

Historically, the gymnasium was used for exercise, communal bathing, and scholarly and philosophical pursuits.

2.1   Ancient Greece

Gyms were popular in ancient Greece. Their curricula included Gymnastica militraria or self-defense, gymnastica medica, or physical therapy to help the sick and injured, and gymnastica athletica for physical fitness and sports, from boxing to dance.

Physical training and maintenance of health and strength were the chief parts of children's earlier education. Except for time devoted to letters and music, the education of young men was solely conducted in the gymnasium, where provisions were made not only for physical pedagogy but for instruction in morals and ethics.[citation needed] As pupils grew older, informal conversation and other forms of social activity took the place of institutional, systematic discipline. Since the gymnasia were favorite resorts of youth, they were frequented by teachers, especially philosophers.[8] Philosophers and sophists frequently assembled to hold talks and lectures in the gymnasia; thus the institution became a resort for those interested in less structured intellectual pursuits in addition to those using the place for training in physical exercises.

In Athens, there were three great public gymnasia: the Academy, the Lyceum and the Cynosarges_, each of which was dedicated to a deity whose statue adorned the structure.

2.2   Ancient Rome

Community sports never became as popular among ancient Romans as it had among the ancient Greeks.

2.3   Contemporary

Gyms have built their business model around us not showing up. Gyms have way more members than they can actually accommodate. Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. [1]

If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym's best customer. So gyms try to attract people who won't come. If you haven't been a "gym person" in the past, chances are good that paying for a gym membership won't change that. Gyms know this and do what they can to attract people who haven't traditionally been gym rats. Instead of displaying challenging equipment like weight benches and climbing machines in plain view, gyms will often hide weight rooms and other equipment in the back. Many gyms now have lobbies that are designed to look like hotels and fancy restaurants. [1]

Gyms have big issues with retention, and most lose around half their members every year. Once we realize that we haven't been going to the gym, even $20 per month can feel like too much. To try to combat this, gyms look for ways to offer value to customers who aren't necessarily into working out. Planet Fitness has bagel breakfasts once a month and pizza dinners. Those are its busiest times. It also has massage chairs. Other gyms have mixers and movie nights and spa treatments. [1]

3   References

[1](1, 2, 3) Stacey Vanek Smith. Dec 30, 2014. Why We Sign Up For Gym Memberships But Never Go To The Gym.