There's no doubt that the 80s redefined cool.

It was the decade when Michael Jackson, Madonna and Cindy Lauper made their way to our living rooms through cassettes and stereos. It made rebels out of us, with Jackson singing about being tough in Beat It and  Arnold Schwarzenegger capturing our imagination as The Terminator. Mixtapes were made, it was a glorious time to be alive.

Fitness enters the mainstream

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The 80s was an inspirational decade.

Jane Fonda took fitness routines out of sweaty gymnasiums and made them fun. Her video, Jane Fonda's Workout, would sell 17 million copies worldwide, becoming a fitness phenomenon. Exercise was no longer something only bodybuilders did.

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Olivia Newton-John took fitness into millions of homes with her music video Physical that set the charts on fire.

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Fitness instructor Richard Simmons became the face of weight-loss fitness programs with his Sweatin' to the Oldies videos that showcased diverse body types.

Radical workouts

The fitness revolution started by Jane Fonda, Olivia Newton-John, Richard Simmons and others led to an explosion in workout techniques.

Let's take a look at some of the 80s era workouts that are making a comeback decades later.


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It’s hard to resist the urge to get up and moving with Aerobics.

A high-energy workout set to music, aerobics improves your cardiovascular endurance. Similar to dance routines, it combines stretching for flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning and strength training.


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On the other end of the spectrum was calisthenics which drew from military exercises.

A series of bodyweight exercises, calisthenics improves fitness, flexibility and strength. Calisthenics can be performed without equipment, consisting primarily of movements like pull-ups, push-ups, planks, squats and more.

Calisthenics evolved over the years, rebranding into fitness regimens like CrossFit, boot camps and obstacle race training.


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Founded in 1969, Jazzercise gained popularity in the 1980s. Described as a combination of kickboxing, pilates, strength training and yoga, Jazzercise is quite possibly the most fun workout of all time with popular music and a party atmosphere.

Step Aerobics

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A variation of aerobics, step aerobics uses elevated platforms like steps or benches for low-impact to fast-paced exercises. It speeds up the weight loss process and helps in toning major muscles.