5 Fitness Crazes That Took the World by Storm

by Jorge Lopez

There have been numerous fitness fads throughout the decades that have come and gone, while some are here to stay. The way and how much we exercise has also changed a lot:

-  In the 1940s women basically didn’t exercise at all, in fear that exercise could damage the uterus (!)

-  The 1950s was when Jack LaLanne, also called the ‘godfather of fitness’ became famous. He preached about the health benefits of regular exercise and a good diet, and hosted a fitness TV show between 1953 and 1983.

-  The 1960s were all about the vibrating, slimming belts for the lazy exerciser.

- In the 1970s people really started to understand the benefits of exercise, and ‘working out’ got a whole new meaning. Jogging was one of the most prominent fitness trends.

- Group exercise as we know it today really took off in the 1980s, and luckily we’ve had people like Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda and Cindy Crawford that have made sure this has all been recorded on video…

Let’s take a closer look at five fitness crazes that have managed to get people worldwide on their feet.

Group Exercise Photo


When we hear the word aerobic most of us immediately think of a woman with crazy hair and a golden tan jumping around in a body suit, tights, a neon headband and leg warmers.

This form of exercise combines rhythmic aerobic movements, muscle strengthening moves and stretching with the goal of burning body fat, increasing endurance and overall fitness levels.

Aerobics was developed by Dr Kenneth H. Cooper, an exercise physiologist, and Pauline Potts, a physical therapist, both working for the United States Air Force. These exercises were initially invented for astronauts, but were also found effective as a method of tackling the increasing activity in the general population.

Roller Skating

The first recorded use of roller skates dates back to 1743 (in a stage performance in London), and throughout the years there have been several variations of what could be called roller skates.

But it wasn’t until the late 1970s and early 80s when all the cool kids started spending their Friday nights at the roller rink that this form of exercise became really popular.

Although it is a good form of cardiovascular exercise it wasn’t really considered that back then. The roller skating craze died down in the late 80s, only to come back in a different form: inline skating.

Roller skates with four wheels were ditched for easier to manoeuvre two-wheeled rollerblades that were used outside the rinks as a way to get to work or a way to stay in shape.


This is an energetic mixture of dance, aerobics and Latin beats – it is sort of a modern take on the 1970s phenomenon Jazzercise.

Zumba was created “accidentally” by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez when he improvised a dance exercise class in the 1990s. The music that is the soul of Zumba, comes from dance styles such as salsa, cumbia, merengue, hip hop, reggaeton, samba, belly dancing, flamenco etc.

There are eight different types of classes for people of different ages and fitness levels. It burns around 500-1000 calories during a one hour class. Zumba has become so popular that it has spread to more than 150 countries.


This ancient form of exercise can help improve your physical strength, posture, flexibility and balance as well as reduce stress levels and help receive a state of inner peace.

Yoga means ‘spiritual discipline’ and originated in ancient India over 5000 years ago. It was brought to the West by Hindu monks in the late 19th century and became a popular form of exercise in the 1980s.

Modern yoga is based on some basic principles: proper relaxation, proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet and positive thinking and meditation. There are over a hundred different schools of yoga, including Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyasa and Prenatal yoga.


This is one of the more recent fitness fads that are spreading across the world. Americans Greg and Lauren Glassman founded CrossFit Inc. back in 2000.

It is a constantly varied strength and conditioning program that combines weightlifting, sprinting and gymnastics performed at high intensity with the goal of achieving overall physical fitness.

In other words, it is hard work and maybe not the ideal workout for exercise-novices and people with health issues. Big brands such as Adidas and Rebook are offering four week CrossFit courses to their employees.

Don’t know about you, but a workout sounds quite appealing right now. Maybe it’s time to dust off those rollerblades…

(Jorge Lopez is the sales director for L.A.Fuel, a newcomer on the global energy chewing gum scene that supports and encourages all sorts of fitness crazes that get people up and moving and leave them feeling energized.)

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One Response to “5 Fitness Crazes That Took the World by Storm”

  1. Let’s not forget Tae Bo…. Billy Banks would be offended to be left off this list! Great post though… it’s awesome to see how the fitness world has changed over the years but it still really hasn’t!