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Although it may seem as if it’s been ingrained in society since the dawn of time, the culture surrounding physical fitness is still a relatively new invention. Back before the days of 24-hour gyms and at-home workout equipment, people got their exercise just by living their daily lives. People spent more time on their feet working in factories or in farming, and had little leisure time to spend making gains. As dark as it sounds, many families didn’t even have enough food to go around to be unhealthily overweight in the first place.
It seems strange to think about it now—in today’s fitness- and “thinness- obsessed-culture—that there was a point in time when being overweight was seen as a status symbol simply because you could afford to eat more.
But part of the fun of fitness being such a new industry is that we get to watch its growing pains in real time, and boy were there some cringe-worthy, coming-of-age moments. So sit back and scroll through these five fitness trends throughout the past century. If Jazzercise doesn’t scream “gym culture’s puberty,” we’re not sure what does.
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