Fitness throughout the decades

Fitness dates back thousands of years; from ancient Greek civilization, Roman civilization, and even well before that. (Photos: Envato Elements)
Fitness is one of the most popular activities known today and has steadily gained popularity. As times evolve, fitness techniques also evolve with it. Many fitness techniques from decades ago laid the foundation for the fitness that we know today. اضافة اعلان

So, what is the history of fitness, and how has it evolved? 

Fitness dates back thousands of years from ancient Greek civilization, Roman civilization, and even well before that. Civilizations valued physical fitness as much as any other form of education, emphasizing the need to be in good physical shape to have a strong mind. Not much has changed since then. Even today, fitness is always encouraged to improve other aspects of wellness. 

In ancient Greece, gymnastics was considered the most important class taught in schools. The Roman civilization held physical fitness in high regard as all citizens needed to remain in good physical shape for the military draft. 
Fitness then included running, marching, and javelin throwing (spear throwing), and their sole purpose was to improve physical fortitude. 

Fast forward to the 1500s, the perspective of the ideal physique changed drastically. For nearly 400 years, it was physically appealing to be overweight as it was considered a sign of nobility. 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

While the ideal size and shape varied based on country and century, a strong physique was primarily found in the working class and military members. But the modern concept of fitness and physique came to be around the time of the industrial revolution. 

A drastic cultural shift from a rural lifestyle to an urban lifestyle occurred and caused less movement to be required and showed a decline in overall physical health, especially in the working force. 

Hypokinetic diseases (conditions that are associated with decreased physical activity), such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and others, also increased around this time. This urban lifestyle also showed an increase in mortality due to the aforementioned diseases. 

As technologies advanced and people became wealthier, fitness levels declined, and the prevalence of hypokinetic diseases increased. As a result, many people globally began to recognize the importance of physical fitness, and from there, the fitness culture we know today was born. 

Fitness in the 1990s
In the 1900s, especially in the late 90s, fitness culture changed drastically. In the 1940s, stretching and jumping jacks were believed to keep your body toned and in shape. Later in the 1950s, the hula hoop became a popular trend. Fitness predominantly revolved around those three exercises. 

As time went by, it became evident that more workouts needed to be added to a fitness regimen to make it more effective. In the 80s, the concept of dance was introduced into fitness culture, and aerobic tapes became increasingly popular where fitness moves were mixed in with dance moves, and music was played in the background. 

These techniques inspired different aerobics, including water and step aerobics, which became more enjoyable and quickly gained popularity.
Alongside aerobics, martial arts became popular in the 1990s with Tae Bo’s creation, a high-intensity exercise that combined martial arts, boxing, and dance. Tae Bo garnered popularity during that time as it added a fun new twist to the world of fitness. 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Spin classes also became popular at that time. Spin classes today are known as soul cycling, and it is an activity that involves riding a bicycle machine indoors. Set at different speeds and intensities, spin classes were an effective (and fun) way to stay fit. 

It was a huge craze at the time, and it remains a big part of fitness culture today. The gym culture we know today existed during this time as well but did not become popular until later. 

Fitness in the 2000s
The early 2000s were predominantly focused on group exercises. Kickboxing (which stemmed from Tae Bo) became increasingly popular. Shortly after that, yoga rose in popularity. 

Both are still widely practiced today and have only increased in popularity with time. With advances in technology during that time, these advances merged with fitness techniques.

In 2007, the Nintendo Wii (Wii Fit) was introduced, and people were able to play various sports and perform various movements at home. Exergaming (or active video games) became one of the most popular fitness trends. 
This technology-driven exercise became a favorite for people of all ages but especially for children. It requires physical movement and promotes activity while playing video games. The philosophy behind it was to create a form of fitness that was enjoyable. 

It was one of the fastest-growing trends in the fitness world. Since then, the world has seen a rise in health and fitness trends. Whether it be in technology such as smartwatches, or new diets, now more than ever, people are interested in improving their physical health.

The prevalence of different types of exercise also allowed people to find the kind of exercise that best suited them, and fitness culture as a whole became integrated into day-to-day lifestyles.

Read more Health