Home Health Fitness Do You Know What Women Did for Fitness 100 Years Ago?

Do You Know What Women Did for Fitness 100 Years Ago?

For the last decade, women’s fitness styles have changed dramatically. I myself have done aerobics, weights, yoga, kick boxing, and I am sure many more I can’t remember as the styles have changed so much.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what women used to do to keep fit.

Women were very feminine in the 1910s, and their exercises were just gentle stretching so they would not perspire, which was not feminine at all. They even still wore ankle-length attire.

Gentle stretches were popular in 1910. Image: Screenshot/YouTube.
Gentle stretches were popular in 1910. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Fitness in the 1920s was pretty much the same as the 1910s, but more glamorous. Women wore silk gowns and full makeup. They still did gentle stretching, but with a more energetic twist, which was inspired by the dance The Charleston.

In the 1920's women still just did gentle stretching. Image: Screenshot/YouTube.
In the 1920s, women still just did gentle stretching. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Fitness made a dramatic change in the 1930s. The women’s league of health and beauty was created by Mary Bagot Stack, whose motto was: “Movement is life.” Exercises such as star jumps were introduced, as well as large group classes.

Fitness 3
In the 1930s, star jumps were introduced into the women’s fitness scene, as well as group classes. (Screenshot/YouTube)

With the war starting, women started exercising in their own homes. However, the women’s league of health and beauty still maintained a large membership. Gentle exercises that still didn’t make one perspire were still popular, and a form of sit-up was introduced.

Fitness in the 1940's
Fitness in the 1940s now included a form of sit-up. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The 1950s saw the craze of the hula hoop. With just a few clever marketing tricks it really took off; even children got swept up in it.

Hula Hooping was popular in the 1950's. Image: Screenshot/YouTube.
Hula hooping was popular in the 1950s. (Screenshot/YouTube)

In the 1960s, the hula hoop took a back seat and became more of a children’s toy. The trim twist took over and was popular even with office workers and housewives. It was made from a square of pressed board mounted on top of a metal turning mechanism.

The trim twist was popular in the 1960's. Image: Screenshot/YouTube.
The trim twist was popular in the 1960s. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Jazzercise was introduced in the 1970s by former Broadway star Judi Sheppard Missett. It’s a combination of aerobics and jazz dancing that brought a very upbeat movement to the fitness world. It is still practiced in 32 countries.

Jazzerise was very popular in the 1970s. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Jazzerise was very popular in the 1970s. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The leg warmers and leotards came out with the introduction of aerobics in the 1980s. Jane Fonda became a name everyone knew with her high kicks and high impact workout. Physical fitness came with a status symbol.

High powered aerobics was popular in the 1980's. Image: Screenshot/YouTube.
High-powered aerobics was popular in the 1980s. (Screenshot/YouTube)

In the 1990’s, Billy Blanks dominated the fitness world with Tae Bo, designed to work every part of your body. It’s a combination of Taekwondo and boxing. Even I got caught up in the craze.

Body sculpting Tae Bo was the craze in the 1990's. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Body sculpting Tae Bo was the craze in the 1990’s. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The new millennium saw the return of fitness through dance. Street dance started out in neighborhoods and school yards, eventually making it into gyms and dance studios. Maybe it was all the dance movies that came out in the new millennium that started the craze.

Street dance was popular in 2000. Image: Screenshot/YouTube.
Street dance was popular in 2000. (Screenshot/YouTube)

2010 sambaed in with the introduction of Zumba. Women worked out Brazilian-style, shaking their way into fitness. Zumba felt more like a night out dancing then a workout. It incorporated the elements of hip-hop, soca, salsa, samba, merengue, and mambo.

The salsa moves of Zumba became popular in 2010. Image: Screenshot/YouTube.
The salsa moves of Zumba became popular in 2010. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Watch the full video:

I think this video is missing my favorite exercise, which I believe is very popular today—meditation.

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Wilma Oakes
When Wilma isn't eating delicious food, she's scouring the internet, and dreaming of what yummy foods she can make next. One of her dreams would be to eat her way through Italy and Japan, and also see the sights of course. Another passion she has is natural health. When she was young her mother was sick for years. When the doctors finally worked out what was wrong they put her on medication, but it wasn't making her any better. Her parents turned to natural health and changed their health and their lives. Wilma has been researching about natural health since she was 12 and is currently studying nutritional medicine. The most important thing in her life is her two beautiful children and husband. They are blessed with a girl and boy and are living the tropical lifestyle in sunny Queensland, Australia. In her opinion the best state in Australia.

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