Fun Fitness Flashback: 80s Aerobics

12SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/13/2009 5:11 AM   :  304 comments   :  51,744 Views

(Disclaimer: As I write this, it's 4:55 p.m. and I need a blog post for tomorrow. While I guarantee this post will entertain and delight you, don't expect anything too deep.)

When you think of aerobics, what comes to mind? Tights, thong leotards, spandex and sweatbands? Well, you're not alone. Aerobics hit the mainstream in the 80s, and the "fashion" that went along with it (think: Olivia Newton John's "Get Physical" video) was probably just as famous as the signature moves, which could best be described as a cross of dance, calisthenics, and athletic training that is choreographed and set to music.

I recently stumbled upon a set of YouTube videos from the 1987 "National Aerobics Championship" where groups of, um…aerobicisers (?) competed for the title "America's Best Aerobic Athlete." These routines are mesmerizing.

If you're ready for a fun fitness flashback, you'll love the videos embedded below!

Update: The original video I posted here has been removed from YouTube by its owner, but I did find another version of the video where someone dubbed some newer hip hop music into the soundtrack instead of the original sound. You can see it below or click here:



And here's an example of one of the routines:



We've come a long way, baby! The hair, the music, the moves—this is 80s aerobics at its best. I wish I would have seen these workouts when I was developing ideas for my own "80s Aerobics" workout (on the Cardio Blast DVD), but I don't think I could hold a candle to these guys! If your workout routines resemble these videos in any way, it's time for a fitness intervention!

On a serious note, despite looking a bit corny, these routines are tough. It would NOT be easy to replicate a workout like this and keep up with it! They are fast-paced and anyone who actually followed a routine like that would have to get some great results. But I'm glad that fitness has changed so much since 1986. I can't imagine fitting in as a fitness instructor if I had to wear that much spandex and teach people to exercise like this. It would not come very naturally for me.

So I have to ask: Did you ever try aerobics during the 80s craze? Do you love it or hate it?


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Comments

  • 304
    Hi Nicole and Friends! :) I love the 80s Aerobics Craze so much, that I have started a team devoted to Retro Aerobics on here!!! Called The Spark Retro Aerobics Fans!!! :) :D Hope that y'all join me!!! :D :) - 4/27/2013   7:16:26 PM
  • 303
    I remember seeing these on tv, movies and news. Back then I was a slim 30-year-old and didn't think I needed to "exercise" outside of normal life activities.
    BOY, how I WISH I had gotten into the habit THEN. Maybe I wouldn't have piled on the poounds and it wouldn't be SO HARD NOW !
    BLESSINGS, Sparkers ! - 5/24/2012   7:32:41 PM
  • 302
    Yes! I did do those 80's aerobics routines! But I didn't wear those weird clothes with the diaper looking things. I wore my shorts and a tank top. Sometimes I am glad I have no fashion sense... it can come back and bite you on the butt years down the line. - 5/10/2012   6:27:04 AM
  • 301
    Anyone remember the short videos on Showtime called Aerobicise? It was scantily clad women moving slowly in "aerobic" moves with the camera zooming in on breasts, butts, and crotches. A breathy voice would remind us to "Breathe." It was nothing short of soft porn.

    Ahhh, I miss the 80s. - 4/11/2012   6:28:20 AM
  • 300
    Didn't do the spandex but loved the aerobic dance routines! - 4/26/2011   1:50:54 PM
  • 299
    oh yeah, I remember it well. My University gym was full of us (approx 200 students) doing group aerobics - and on a Friday afternoon - we'd skip class just to join in the fun. - 4/25/2011   9:59:04 PM
  • 298
    My kids and I used to do Richard Simmons videos!! - 4/25/2011   7:14:40 PM
  • ROGERSBABE1
    297
    We still grapevine with variations...it's one of my favorite moves! - 4/25/2011   11:44:38 AM
  • 296
    I had a few outfits and I grapevine on occasion.....SMH! - 4/24/2011   8:46:17 PM
  • 295
    There is one thing you don't see in this group of exercisers and that is no one is over weight. The old exercises must work because they sure looked trim to me. Love the golden oldies. - 4/24/2011   1:38:24 AM
  • 294
    I am so glad I got to see this one. Sure brought back the memories. Yikes!!! - 4/23/2011   11:05:33 PM
  • 293

    Dancing to the oldies was my style back then . . . and still to-day! - 4/23/2011   12:06:53 PM
  • REBECKY44
    292
    OMG!~ I have that turquoise workout suit... and the tights from Jazzercise! - 4/22/2011   11:35:04 PM
  • 291
    My aerobics instructor was Leslie Sansone back in New Castle, PA. Loved those bulky, burgundy colored leg warmers with tights under them and pale pink, soft leather workout shoes. Kept those things around for years, but after several moves, finally got rid of them. We did not dance like those on video but kept quite active. - 4/22/2011   4:57:42 PM
  • ETHELMERZ
    290
    I danced in the 80's and still dance now, for exercise and fun, doesn't matter which "fad" comes out, or will come out. Cheaper that way, and get's the results just fine. All the ads in the world don't tempt me at all, never have. Not necessary, really. - 11/30/2010   9:43:14 PM
  • 289
    I WAS one of those aerobics instructors in 1984-1994!!! I taught dance and step aerobics. I still have many of my outfits in the back of the closet and every once in a while I take them out!! My leg warmers really give me a kick!! I never wore a headband, but my hair was long and up in ball on top of my head! I was so fit back then and I have alot of great memories of the girls in my classes and how much fun we always had everyday. I loved going to work and I lost 75 lbs. and could eat what I wanted cause I burned so many cals. a day. I'm pretty sure I would do it again if it came back around and I could fit into any of those thong Danskins, tights, and leg-warmers!! - 4/3/2010   10:59:06 PM
  • 288
    Aerobic videos--hated it. - 3/15/2010   1:51:39 PM
  • TEE789
    287
    I love aerobics, but never tried it during the 80's craze. I was very tiny and had not desire at the time to try aerobics. Now I enjoy taking aerobics class.

    - 2/7/2010   9:43:55 PM
  • LINDALEE51
    286
    I loved my aerobic classes. They made me feel good, and more coordinated!! Didn't really help with the left-right thing cause I was usually going in the wrong direction -- BUT, I always got a good workout! And thoroughly enjoyed it.

    The only thing I'd change is -- what was I thinking wearing a leotard!!???? - 2/6/2010   12:51:54 PM
  • 285
    I loved 80's aerobics! I was so thin then too. LOL! - 2/5/2010   11:31:14 PM
  • 284
    I have some of the old tapes, but the only form of exercise I've ever really enjoyed is dancing. I could dance for hours. - 2/5/2010   8:59:38 PM
  • 283
    Must have..shiny blue leotard... - 2/5/2010   7:06:30 PM
  • 282
    HA! this is hiLARious!! *sigh* I kinda miss the 80s. even if I wouldn't wear the fashion from back then, it's a never ending source of entertainment for me to look back on them fondly!! :-)

    but I just want to point out for the record, though, that that's not hip hop (even though there is a rapper). that's more like house music or something...

    carry on! - 2/5/2010   5:45:27 PM
  • 281
    I thought the routine was ridiculous. Sorry....

    I wonder what they look like today. Probably still very fit. - 2/5/2010   1:48:34 PM
  • 39TOGO
    280
    I loved the aerobics of the 80s! Oh, I had this great leotard outfit... "singlet" style shorts which I wear with a bandau under the straps. - 2/5/2010   1:29:25 PM
  • 279
    I did all the videos and Jazzercise in the eighties. Last year my DH and I cleaned the basement, I found the box of leotards and leggings and couldn't bring myself to pitch them. I want to be able to wear them again (not out mind you). 4 years ago got back into Jazzercise again and it is a fantastic workout. The teacher is wonderful and makes the hour and 10 minutes go by so fast. Most of the music is current sometimes she brings back oldies upon request. It's still a blast. - 2/1/2010   11:07:26 PM
  • 278
    That brought back memories... too funny. - 1/20/2010   2:44:31 PM
  • 277
    I did high impact aerobics in the '80's 5 - 6 times a week. I also was a dancing fool in those days. I was in the best shape ever! Unfortunately I had a huge disappointment and became severly depressed, quit going to the gym and turned to food. It took me many years to make a change and now that I have I couldn't be happier ~~~ Yes, I remember those days, loved them and would do those same classes today if they were offered! - 12/14/2009   1:24:17 AM
  • 276
    Hello you folks,

    I used to exercise alot in the 80's when I was a kid in my one piece leotards, tights, and leg warmers. I still do sometimes. LOL. ;)

    I'm a man. I don't know why most of us guys hate aerobics or have no desire to even try it. But I for one love it.

    Bless you all and take care.

    Warmly yours,
    Chris - 12/14/2009   1:18:25 AM
  • BOBBABINSKI
    275
    That is cute. Check out how some swimmers are turning back the clock. For a peek at a unique trend in the UK that has more people swimming outdoors, check out this cool feature called "Water's Transforming Power" on the Good4sports blog: http://good4sports.wordpress.com / - 12/12/2009   12:51:24 PM
  • MCNEILLMAMA3
    274
    The only one I cared for was Richard Simmons Sweatin to the Oldies and Dance Your Pants Off. The others invovled too many complicated moves and hard cored stomping and jumping. Does not go well with someone with DJD of the knees and lower back. I have no cushion. Currently I am consistently doing Leslie Sansone's WATP series, Denise Austin's Blast Away the Pounds, and just received the Spark 10 minute Fitness DVDs-these are great to work in q quick exercise stent. I also like the Arthritis Foundation's People With Arthritis Can Exercise(PACE) - 11/30/2009   1:01:07 PM
  • 273
    hey i did em all jane fonda richard simmons denise richards - it was great. right now i am interested in more of the sexy latin dances... - 11/26/2009   2:31:29 PM
  • 272
    I'm an 80's baby! I love it! - 11/26/2009   10:26:29 AM
  • 271
    oh my gosh i am killing myself with this video how funny - I was that bad! I grew in the 80s- disco Hy - 11/25/2009   10:17:46 PM
  • 270
    This was blog was so much fun I pulled out my old Jazzercise and Jane Fonda VHS tapes and did a few 'retro' workouts. They're still great workouts and still highly enjoyable. Plus I got free entertainment from looking at the hairstyles! Thanks for the walk down memory lane. - 11/24/2009   5:28:20 PM
  • 269
    I love jane fonda.
    - 11/24/2009   11:50:03 AM
  • VANANDEL
    268
    I taught aerobics during the 90's, and it was a blast! I taught at my company and at a couple of different clubs in the area. I even had a thong leotard at one point, although I have to say I was glad when that trend went away! I enjoyed the spontaneous nature of routines in those days, it was both a great workout and so much fun. - 11/24/2009   10:35:10 AM
  • 267
    I did Jane Fonda too.... - 11/22/2009   10:42:19 PM
  • 266
    I DID JANE FONDA ....UNTIL SHE CAME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND ADMITTED TO HAVING AN EATING DISORDER...I LOST FAITH IN HER AND THE WORKOUT THEN... - 11/22/2009   5:54:59 PM
  • 265
    What a great memory!

    I was in my 20's during the eighties. Graduated from college, lived on my own (do young people live on their own anymore? I think they all move back home now...). Yes, I had the leotards and tights (matching, thank you very much!) and leg warmers. Better yet was that my best friend from work and I both belonged to the same gym (Victory Lady-a women-only gym). We would work out every day after work. She and I are still friends, although she lives in another city.

    Thank you for some fun and funny memories! - 11/22/2009   4:25:37 PM
  • 264
    Anyone remember Aerobic Dance with Jackie Sorenson. I loved that and would do it in a minute of anyone taught the class! I did purchase some LP records on EBay with the music, just need to get them onto a CD for my IPOD. - 11/22/2009   3:51:53 PM
  • 263
    Memories.....ah! - 11/22/2009   1:55:00 PM
  • TERRELLSBE
    262
    What a hoot! I did jazzercise class 3 to 4 times a week and later used all the Kathy Smith videos. I still pull on Kathy Smith once in a while but I have to modify those high speed lunge move-killer on the knees! You know Kathy Smith now appears on the LifeTime lift commercials! She looks great! - 11/21/2009   12:13:35 PM
  • 261
    I remember it well. Aerobics helped me lose the weight after I had my son. I couldn't afford the videos, so I would tune into ESPN for workouts in the morning. I can't believe I actually wore leg warmers and had big hair. - 11/21/2009   8:22:28 AM
  • 260
    Oh, yea.....Those were the good old days! - 11/21/2009   7:53:56 AM
  • 259
    No...i was growing up in the 80's..... - 11/20/2009   5:56:01 PM
  • AMARANTHA2
    258
    Love it and still do. - 11/20/2009   5:48:17 PM
  • TRADERGIRLZ
    257
    I remember ot well....I used to work at Jane Fonda's Workout!!! - 11/20/2009   1:27:51 PM
  • 256
    I'm probably one of the few who was born in the 80s (early) that does not remember much of it (including aerobics) at all. I'm sure I probably seen some commericals of it back then, possibly Richard Simmons, Denise Austin and Jane Fonda. I don't think any of my family during the 80s part of my childhood had any workout tapes. I didn't learn anything about aerobics or any instructors until the early 90s. My mom had a VHS of Calenetics. I also remember seeing Richard Simmons and Denise Austin promo a lot back then. To be honest, I really didn't know many exercises and instructors until this decade. It was when I gained the most weight, so I didn't pay any mind to that
    But this was a learning experience. Though I knew about the wardrobe, I didn't know aerobics started in the 80s and they had aerobics dance competitions. That's pretty cool. - 11/20/2009   11:03:49 AM
  • TWEETYKSC
    255
    HAHA! Hosted by Alan Thicke! - 11/20/2009   9:48:29 AM

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