Fitness Fads

City Information Centre

New year’s resolutions – ready steady go on January 1st! Becoming fitter, getting stronger and more resilient sounds like plan.

Over the years, fitness fads have been coming and going but most of them haven’t delivered what they had promised. The independent Which? Magazine has recently published the article “Six of the weirdest fitness fads of the past four decades”. I was intrigued to see if I had ever followed one of them. In 40 years, chances were YES.

On top of the list is the Step, basically a sturdy plastic box. Step aerobics? Done that. According to the magazine you can still buy the Steps, but the workout instructions have moved from video cassettes to YouTube. Then there is the Thighmaster, a “spot reduction tool” that promised to reduce fat in your inner thighs. It’s no more than two asymmetrical loops connected by a stiff hinge which you position between your knees and squeeze. My hopes were high, but I’ve hardly used mine. The article says it’s not doing anything so no regrets. Anyone for Dog Yoga, a trend which started in 2003 with the publication of the book ‘Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog’. Difficult to do when you haven’t got a dog. Next on the list is the Shake Weight, described as “a dumbbell that oscillates in your hand due to springs attached to the weights”. Never heard of it. The one that definitely gets the thumbs down is the Waist Trainer, a “corset made of thick fabric and metal which purports to improve your figure if worn every waking moment of your life”. And do we really need to talk about the Sauna Suit?

The winner is: The Step – make mine STEPS. And not only for those with leg joint problems. The saying goes: use it or lose it. The City has lots of opportunities to use stairs instead of elevators or escalators. Bank Station: once you’re on them there is no way back. Commuters smugly planted on the escalator with this grin on their faces, you don’t want to give them the satisfaction of seeing you running out of breath. Steady does it!

The dreaded, but much needed, stairs at Bank station in the City of London
©Wikimedia Commons, photo taken by mattbuck, licensed under CC BY-SA


Which? Six of the 6 Weirdest Fitness Fads of the Past Four Decades