Blog: Thrive Blog

Fitness throughout the ages!

by Thrive Fitness Fitness

Let’s take a walk through memory lane, to fully appreciate our modern privileges.

  • Timid 1910’s:

Basic hip stretches… in ankle length skirts (okay?). If that wasn’t quite your style then bicycling was very popular, which was known as the avant garde ‘velocipede’.

Primitive forms of the indoor velocipede and weight training were emerging, but caused more injuries than anything else.

  • Roaring 20’s:

Vanity over fitness! Full make-up and a silk night gowns were the workout clothes of choice. Ladies practiced simple stretches with a twist to mimic the Charleston.

Men and women could find specialized (and hazardous) exercise equipment, although this was usually reserved for the crème de la crème.

  • Radical 30’s:

Introducing- Mary Bagot Stack’s Women’s League of Health and Beauty.

“Movement is life” was the mantra of the decade, and the league. Stack’s dream was to create a national fitness craze- a woman after our own hearts.

She incorporated stretches with more rigorous exercise like star jumps. The League held classes and fitness groups. It is argued that Stack created the first fitness class. 

In it’s prime, the league had more than 166 000 members! It was affordable, fun and healthy.

  • Lapsing 40’s:

In the midst of a war, the league’s membership dwindled in favour of personal workout sessions which could be conducted at home.

While the men were gone, women stepped up and worked to keep society functioning, time was a major factor in the League’s decline. It’s believed that this is when the sit-up was created.

  • Marketable 50’s:

Fitness gets a fresh new face in the form of hula hoops. Let’s not forget the Bongo board, the ancestor of the modern balance board.

“By using Bongo… bingo! Everything shapes up nicely.”

  • Swingin’ 60’s:

Hula hoops were tossed aside for a new craze- The Trim Twist! Huh? A flat board mounted to a turning mechanism.

So ladies could twist their way to a firmer stomach, derriere and toned arms and legs.

  • Jiving in the 70’s:

Disco? Surprisingly, no. Say hello to Jazzercise! Still practiced in 32 countries, this fad was formed by former Broadway star, Judi Sheppard Misset.

A unique approach inspired by a 90% dropout rate in Judi’s professional dance class, leading to an adaption in her approach. Hello fun fitness!

  • Smashing 80’s:

Researchers found that aerobic exercise had endless benefits, celebrities picked up the trend and the public followed in suit.

Jane Fonda launched an aerobic craze, thanks to her jump on the market, her workout smashed any other exercise series. Think big hair and neon everything.

  • Raging 90’s:

Thanks to Billy Blanks and his pioneering fitness spirit, many people traded their will to live with Taebo. Some of our favourite workout moves were developed from TaeBo.

An honourable mention from this age is Cindy Crawford’s ‘Buns of Steel’… ah, the memories.

  • Xtreme 2000’s:

Pop and Lock yo! This time period saw people bobbing and weaving to the street dance fad.

Brownie points to anyone who knows what ‘pop and lock’ means.

  • Our revolutionary present:

Zumba your way to a fitter tomorrow. The dance trend continues, but Zumba manages to cater to a much larger audience.

Whether you’re young, old, male or female, looking for a good time with your friends, or a hardcore gym rat… Zumba is FUN! And effective.

We don’t have enough time to go into all the giant leaps that the fitness community has taken through the past 100 years, but our advancement is plain to see.

The evolution of fitness

We’ve come a long way since the occasional lady-like stretch. Somewhere along the line, people stopped caring how they looked during the workout and started caring about results.

Nowadays, people want to be healthy, they want to be fit, they want to thrive…

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