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In 1785 Thomas Jefferson was the Minister to France and lived in Paris. He walked two hours every day and kept a Journal. He wrote extensively about his daily life in Paris. In the 18th Century the average lifespan of a healthy male in the Virginia Colony was under 25. Jefferson did not design the campus of the University of Virginia until he was 76 in 1819 and he lived to build every building on the campus at thee time and create what they would teach there and by whom. He even decided who would attend the University. The University of Virginia was his proudest achievement.
Place Royale 1709 - It is located 15.2 miles from the center of Paris and the buildings are the future home of the Faculty of Medicine.
From Jefferson's notes: Aug. 27, Paris 1786
“If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong. The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is best. A horse gives but a kind of half exercise, and a carriage is no better than a cradle. No one knows, till he tries, how easily a habit of walking is acquired. A person who never walked three miles will in the course of a month become able to walk 15 or 20 miles without fatigue. I have known some great walkers and had particular accounts of many more; and I never knew or heard of one who was not healthy and long lived. This species of exercise therefore is much to be advised. Should you be disposed to try it, as your health has been feeble, it will be necessary for you to begin with a little, and to increase it by degrees. For the same reason you must probably at first ascribe to it hours the most precious for study, I mean those about the middle of the day. But when you shall find yourself strong, you may venture to take your walks in the evening after the digestion of the dinner is pretty well over. This is making a composition between health and study. The latter would be too much interrupted were you to take from it the early hours of the day, and habit will soon render the evenings exercise as salutary as that of the morning. I speak this from my own experience, having, from an attachment to study, very early in life, made this arrangement of my time, having ever observed it, and still observing it, and always with perfect success. Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise, and the weather should be little regarded. A person not sick will not be injured by getting wet. It is but taking a cold bath, which never gives a cold to any one. Brute animals are the most healthy, and they are exposed to all weather, and of men, those are healthiest who are the most exposed. The recipe of those two descriptions of beings is simple diet, exercise and the open air, be it’s state what it will.”
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