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By Lorraine Pelley

Now that it’s February, we have all had time to settle comfortably into the New Year. Winter is already half over and everyone is either going full swing with their fitness schedules or starting to wane from their New Year’s resolutions.

It is difficult to imagine a world without exercise and fitness. It has been part of society in some form or other for centuries. But over time, it has like everything else, evolved. Different forms and trends continue to shape the market of health and fitness. So, as we look ahead to what 2018 might bring, I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane to remember what the top fitness fads were during the second last year of each decade.

1988

Who could forget the Thigh Master? The manual leg muscle tightening machine was the hottest workout product on the market. After all, who didn’t want legs like Suzanne Somers.

Canadian duo Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod said their first “Keep Fit and Have Fun” motto when they developed Body Break.  But it would take several more years before the couple finally put rumours to rest by confirming that they were married.

Kathy Smith, Denise Austin, and Allyssa Milano added their names to the growing list of celebrity workout VHS tapes that Jane Fonda started 10 years earlier.  And although it was first introduced in 1987, by 1988 everyone still wanted Buns of Steel.

Walkmans, Discmans and boomboxes played all the number one hits while people exercised vigorously in brightly coloured leotards and bodysuits.

1998

The all in one home gym dominated the late 1990s and with good reason. To own one machine that could work every part of the body was the workout system.  Bow Flex became the biggest name in fitness equipment during the ’90’s.

Billy Blanks was a force to be reckoned with his Tae Bo workout but cardio dance was starting to take over the market.

1998 was the year MP3 players were first introduced so people could get jiggy with Will Smith while pumping iron at their local gym.

2008

Pilates was one of the top fitness classes in the later part of the first millennial decade. Resistance, core, and strength training also made the top five list of fitness favs. By 2008, more people were turning to personal trainers and yoga classes to improve their physical and mental health.

Childhood obesity became a growing concern. Many child focused fitness programs started to try to combat this serious issue. But kids were not the only population in the physical fitness limelight. A growing population of older athletes created a whole new niche of senior’s focused fitness programs.

The Swiss ball, now more commonly known as the exercise ball, was the equipment of choice along with kettle bells. These fabulous workout tools offered a whole new level of strength training and fun to the normal gym class.

Playing iTunes on your iPod made listening to music much easier than in previous decades.

2018

Although we are in the early stages of this year, the trends are gearing towards high intensity, interval, group, and body weight training methods. Technology has advanced significantly so now athletes at every level can download an app to track their progress. Personal trainers are still highly sought after as people look to the professionals to help them sift through the overload of internet information on health and fitness.  

Yoga and meditation continue to be just as important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as the highly physical endurance challenges. Today, people are focusing on their mental and physical well-being, not just on the physical work.

Older athletes continue to take front stage in the world of athletics and companies are paying attention. Many classes and products are designed with the mature adult in mind.

Fitness trends have changed significantly over the years, but one thing will always remain the same: the desire to live a healthy, active and fulfilled life no matter how young or old you are.

What is your favourite trend of yesterday and today? We would love to hear your stories and memories.

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