'Manly exercise' manual found at Cambridge college
A 19th Century manual of "Manly Exercises" found in a college's archive shows a surprisingly "forward-thinking" attitude, researchers have said.
The British Manly Exercises guide was written by Donald Walker in 1834.
It urges gentlemen to move for up to 24 miles a day, and to opt for a diet of lean meat, stale bread, and biscuits.
A spokesman for St John's college, Cambridge, said it echoed health concerns which would be shared by a modern audience.
"Even in the 1830s, there was plenty of discussion about obesity, fad dieting, the relationship between exercise and mental wellbeing, and the fact that technology might be making us all a bit lazier," he said.
The book is understood to have been aimed at wealthy readers who lived sedentary lifestyles - as opposed to members of the working classes who often toiled away doing back-breaking labour.
It tells readers exercise has the potential to "prolong life and improve its happiness" and can combat and prevent ailments.
However, some of the advice contained within - such as the instruction to drink half a pint of wine after dinner - is not echoed by 21st Century health experts.
The book has been kept in the college's special collections, which can be viewed by appointment.