How do you like to get fit? Getting into shape these days is all about eating right, moving enough and following the right kind of lifestyle. Historically speaking, we’re in a great place; we have never been so well informed or had quite the amount of equipment at our fingertips as we do now. And while things might have always seemed to be this way, it wasn’t so long ago that fitness had a completely different look. In the early days of sports equipment, machines were big business and if you really wanted to get into shape, you splashed the cash on the latest invention. For the last century, men and women have been working up a sweat to get into shape and while not every invention has worked, they’ve gone down in history all the same.
The Medicine Ball
While medicine balls are still used in fitness today, they haven’t always been put to the same kind of use. In a bid to get their waist and posture in line, women were once encouraged to practice holding a medicine ball in place with their head, pushing it against another women. In order to tone their bodies and shape up their waistline, fitness fanatics would push with their forehead against the ball, using the weight of the other person to work their muscles. While more effective practices have since come into use, this exercise perhaps helped gym bunnies to understand the adaptability of the ball.
Exercises have come in many strange guises and before animal cruelty was a hot topic, people were known to use the creature as part of their exercise routines. While kangaroo boxing has had a long history in circuses and carnivals, it hit the mainstream in Paris in the mid 20th century, after the sport flooded in from the streets. The exercise took influence from the human activity, pitting the two sides against one another. Unsurprisingly, the act was later condemned and individuals turned to safer methods to get into shape.
Resistance bands might already be a part of your workout regime but did you know that they have been in use for a very long time? The exercise tool was first introduced in the mid 1800s and ever since, it has been a popular part of the fitness world. While the bands were originally used as part of physical therapy treatment, their efficacy was duly noted and they eventually hit the mainstream in the 1960s. Simple, effective and portable; it’s no wonder the resistance band has weathered the ages!
The Health Wheel
Thought the machines in your local gym looked scary? Just wait until you get a glimpse of the health wheel. Brought to fame in the 1930s, the instrument resembled a human sized hamster wheel, and was used to the same kind of effect. While the wheel was held in place by two blocks, it required the help of another person when it was in full swing; if things got out of control, the wheel was known to roll out of the room.
Before we got the treadmills of today, there was something a little different on the market. As a bid to get into shape, women were encouraged to run on wooden treadmill in a pair of heels. Incredibly, the choice of dress in the early 1900s was already a step in the right direction; Victorian women who used the same technique typically dressed in dresses or tailored suits. Thankfully, the development of the treadmill has come on a great deal since its early days.