It begins with the 1910s, an era when women took to early exercise bikes and weights with gusto: ankle-length attire or not! Their main form of exercise was comprised of gentle stretches that were said to improve the hips and, believe it or not, ease constipation!
1920s fitness included more of the same stretches, with a more energetic twist undoubtedly inspired by the popular dance routine, the Charleston. Glamour prevailed even during these workouts, with fitness clothes incorporating silk nightgowns and full makeup instead of sports bras!
In the 1930s, fitness made a concerted leap forward. Enter the Women’s League of Health and Beauty, an organisation created by Mary Bagot Stack, aiming to bring fitness to the masses. ‘Movement is life’ was her motto, and her fitness exercises were revolutionary, incorporating, for the first time, things like star jumps in large group classes.