"Getting Physical" Through the Decades

From tummy teas to appetite-suppressing lollipops, people are willing to do almost anything to become “fit,” or at least thin, these days. But is this hunger for fitness fads a new phenomenon? What new craze was sending our parents and grandparents to the gym?  

1960s - Massage Belts

According to The Washington Post, this nifty device was a large belt meant to be wrapped around a “problem” area to vibrate the fat away. Unfortunately for those who spent their hard-earned money on the product, it didn’t actually work. Not only do vibrations not “melt away fat,” spot-targeted fat loss is a myth. Fat reduction, if that is the goal, occurs throughout the body.

1970s - Jazzercise

Thankfully, we seemed to learn our lesson in the '60s. Fitness takes hard work and dedication, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. Enter Jazzercise, the original cardio dance workout (move aside, Zumba). These fitness classes are cardio-based and consist of dances set to music of the instructor’s choice.

1980s - Aerobics

Leggings and high-cut leotards — you probably saw someone in an aerobics-inspired Halloween costume this past week. Step aerobics, dance aerobics, water aerobics; It was all cardio, all the time. This period also inspired the rise of Jane Fonda, an enduring icon who became famous for her aerobics exercise tapes.

1990s-  Tae Bo

Tae Bo built on top of the cardio and dance craze. Founder Billy Blanks used his karate background to create a martial arts, dance and boxing mix, set to hip hop beats. No wonder its popularity exploded.

2000s - Cycle and Zumba

The start of a new century saw multiple huge fitness innovations. Two of them just so happened to stick around, even today. Zumba is a cardio dance class inspired by Hispanic music and dance. Cycle is just as it sounds — an indoor class where everyone pedals to music chosen by the instructor. If you’re looking to start or spice up your fitness journey, I recommend taking either one of these classes here on campus at the RWC!


2010s - CrossFit

The inspiration for many memes, we all experienced the take over of this current trend. A mixture of cardio and resistance training, this workout is meant to challenge and excite anyone who tries it out. It usually consists of an array of stations meant for different movements. Participants move from station to station, working for a set amount of time and then resting before going forward.

The Future

As we enter a whole new decade at the end of this year, I can only imagine what the fitness gurus of the world have in store. But keep in mind that while fitness trends may come and go, our personal fitness is something worth sticking to. Whether you like cardio or weightlifting, swimming or hiking, or boxing or yoga, what works for you is what works best!

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