5 Old-Fashioned Exercise Trends That Will Have You Saying … What on Earth?””

The New Year is a time to reflect. So we started thinking — what exercises from the 1950s through the 1970s may still be relevant? What we found was that some of the classics, like push ups, plank, sit ups, running, squats, and weight lifting can still be found in today’s gym routines.

But we also found some really interesting exercise trends that had us saying… “What on earth were they thinking??”

Here are some of our favorites:

Vibrating Slimming Belt

Vibrating Belt Advertisement from JCPenny.png

Whether you wanted to trim up your waistline, booty, or thighs, the vibrating slimming belt was predominately featured in exercise routines through the 1950s, before treadmills were invented. They claimed to be the key to helping overweight men and women lose weight. This advertisement from JCpenny shows you just how it’s done.

The scary news? You can purchase something like this on Amazon today. However, there is no evidence connecting the use of a vibration belt to weight loss. (But it does look pretty fun.)


Hula Hooping

1950s Hula Hooping.pngStill a favorite for children and music festivals, hula hooping got its start in the fitness world in 1950. Advertised as a way to trim your tummy, waist, and thighs, happy hula-hoopers would hoop for hours. Eventually, you could work your way up to hoops that weighed up to 10 pounds. There’s no denying that the micro-movement of hula hooping could help you target muscle groups in your legs and abs.

Image Credit: Daily Mail


Inflatable Air Jeans


Similar to the waist-training corsets you may find certain celebrities utilizing today, Air Jeans were designed to “put the pressure on unsightly buldges”. The advertisement we found recommends wearing them around your house while you complete daily tasks as the air pockets massage and soothe you while you move.


High Kicking

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It’s time to train for the Rockettes! We stumbled upon this magazine clipping that outlined how ladies could add high kicking to their exercise routines. It says, “Now, let’s try a little high kicking. Take it very slowly at first, but try to kick a little higher each day practicing this exercise.”

Kicking is still an excellent way to target glutes and is relevant in classes like cardio kickboxing.




Invented by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969, Jazzercise is a dance exercise designed to get you up and moving and having fun. Jazzercise was developed on the campus of Northwestern University as Judi introduced a jazz dance warm up before her dance studio classes. Needless to say, it was a huge hit. Jazzercise still has a dedicated fan following today. Although Zumba, another popular dance workout, is becoming more popular for younger generations.