Fitness Fads Master Post

Physical fitness trends are nothing new, though it often seems like we modern humans have a lock on the continuous reinvention of The Perfect New Method.  Each month, we’ll take a brief look at some of the exercise fads and fashions to sweep the nation.

“To the sincere student of physical education nothing has a more sobering effect than the study of those advances made by the great men who have given their lives to their cause.  He finds that most of the theories that come to him as new and startling have been thought before and have been either rejected or put into practice as well or better than he is likely to do. . . . Such a study will save him from the outstanding characteristic of many exploiters of this subject, the unfounded claims for originality and novelty in their work.”

-R. Tait McKenzi, Editor, in the forward of “A Guide to the History of Physical Education” by Fred Eugene Leonard, 1923 

Beecher Exercise 43

Fitness Fads: Late 19th Century – Promoting Physical Education in Schools


Fitness Fads: 1900s-1910s – Swimming for All


Fitness Fads: 1920s-1930s – Parks and Recreation


Fitness Fads: 1940s – Passing the Test


Fitness Fads: 1950s-60s – The Future of America


Fitness Fads: 1970s-80s – Style and Substance