Archive for the ‘Historical Exercise Fads’ Category

Aerobics was, of course, the biggest fitness fad of the 1980s – complete with neon leggings and leg warmers! Though the real birth of aerobics (the word and the practice) can be traced back to Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D. in 1968, it was Jane Fonda who turned it into the biggest fitness craze of the ’80s.


Thanks in part to Olivia Newton-John and the invention of polyurethane wheels, roller skating was the biggest fitness craze to appear in the ’70s. This was also the decade that brought bodybuilding to the forefront thanks to –  you guessed it – Arnold Swarzenegger.

The biggest fitness craze in the ’60s? Why, the vibrating belt, of course! Many women’s spas featured these, and the idea was that the vibrations would disrupt fat and cause it to “melt away.” Sounds a bit like some of the exercise products you see on late-night infomercials, doesn’t it? They were about as effective.

The ’50s brought us the first TV fitness guru – Jack Lalanne (pictured above) – whose TV show The Jack Lalanne Show would become one of the longest-running programs of its kind. He also came up with the first elastic training band (what we’d now call resistance training), known as the Glamour Stretcher.