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Exercise is the performance of activities in order to develop or maintain readiness or competence in various forms of endeavors. Prominent among these are physical exercise engaged in for physical fitness and skill, mental exercises for mental fitness and readiness in various fields, and military exercises for readiness in regard to war.


  • Better to hunt in fields, for health unbought,
    Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.
    The wise, for cure, on exercise depend;
    God never made his work for man to mend.
  • I get my exercise running to the funerals of my friends who exercise.
    • Barry Gray, New York magazine (May 19, 1980).
  • Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends.
    • Thomas Jefferson, Letter to his daughter, Martha Jefferson. (March 28, 1787) The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson, p. 34, eds. E.M. Betts and J.A. Bear, Jr. (1966).
  • My first recollection of the future poetess is that of a plump girl, grown enough to be almost mistaken for a woman, bowling a hoop round the walks, with the hoop-stick in one hand and a book in the other, reading as she ran, and as well as she could manage both exercise and instruction at the same time. The exercise was prescribed and insisted upon: the book was her own irrepressible choice.
    • The Autobiography of William Jerdan, 1852
  • I feel about exercise the same way that I feel about a few other things: that there is nothing wrong with it if it is done in private by consenting adults.
  • Walking is the natural recreation for a man who desires not absolutely to suppress his intellect but to turn it out to play for a season.
    • Leslie Stephen, Studies of a Biographer: Second Series (London: Duckworth, 1902) vol. 3, p. 261.
  • If you would get exercise, go in search of the springs of life.
    • Henry David Thoreau, “Walking” (1862), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 5, p. 209, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
  • Health is the vital principle of bliss,
    And exercise, of health.
    • James Thomson, The Castle of Indolence, Canto ii, Stanza 55. (1748).

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