The Aerobics Craze of the 1980s
In the late 1960s, Air Force surgeon Dr. Kenneth Cooper was evaluating military fitness plans when he realized that aerobic activities, what we now call cardio, like running and cycling, was the key to overall physical health. His 1968 book Aerobics launched the aerobics revolution that followed, as he inspired women like Jacki Sorensen and Judi Sheppard Missett to combine dance with exercise, creating Dance Aerobics and Jazzercise in the process.
I’m joined on this episode by Dr. Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, Associate Professor History at The New School and author of Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America's Exercise Obsession.
Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The episode image is: “Jacki Sorensen at an Aerobic Dancing, Inc., event in New York,” photographed by an employee of Aerobic Dancing, Inc., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
- “The Fitness Craze That Changed the Way Women Exercise,” by Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, The Atlantic, June 16, 2019.
- “History of Aerobic Exercise.”
- “Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH,” CooperAerobics.
- “The 75-Year-Old Behind Jazzercise Keeps Dancing on Her Own,” by Samantha Leach, Glamour, June 21, 2019.
- “Jane Fonda’s 1982 Workout Routine Is Still the Best Exercise Class Out There,” by Patricia Garcia, Vogue, July 7, 2018.
- “Jane Fonda’s first workout video released,” History.com.
- “History: IDEA Health & Fitness Association.
- “Interview with Richard Simmons,” by Eric Spitznagel, Men’s Health, April 25, 2012.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices