1980’s Fitness Fads Photo Flashback

From Mousercise to Jazzercise, Barbie Dance to Flashdance, the 1980’s were a pivotal time for the Fitness Industry.

Olivia Newton John begged us to get Physical, while the Hasbro toy company commanded  younger generations to “Get In Shape, Girl!”.

I’m 35 years old. If you’re my age, plus or minus 5-10 years, this will probably bring back a lot of memories. Come along with Yellow Turtle Fitness, as I take you through a photo journey of the 1980s Fitness fads and fun…

Kids of the eighties would have to be up extra early in the morning(5:30 or 6) to catch Mousercise on the Disney Channel.

Mousercise - Disney Channel

Mousercise – Disney Channel

If you were a late sleeper, Disney had you covered, with the Mousercise Album(which I listened to way too many times to admit):

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Who could forget the iconic “Great Shape Barbie”, from 1983, who even made an appearance in the movie Toy Story 3?


She even had her own gym(lucky girl!):


and her own Workout Dance video:


and Great Shape Barbie’s Inspiration: Olivia Newton John in her video for Physical:

olivia 2

I remember tagging along with my mom to Jazzercise classes:


and just like Mousercise, they had you covered for home workouts, too(the face she’s making on the right hand side makes me question how much fun she’s actually having, but well…):


The boys ran up and down tall sets of stadium steps, wanting to be just like Rocky:

rocky steps

Legwarmers and oversize sweatshirts hanging off one shoulder became absolutely huge after Flashdance hit the scene:


even Snoopy got in on the action with Flashbeagle! To this day, it’s my favourite Peanuts special EVER.


Hasbro’s Get In Shape, Girl! was huge with little girls of the 1980s, inspiring tons of imitators and knockoffs:


You could buy sets that included weights, jump ropes that counted your jumps, and more:


What little girl of the 80s didn’t own one of these dance ribbons available in the GISG Gymnast Kit?


And the gymnast that inspired so many little girls, Mary Lou Retton:


We started elementary school gym class with Parachutes, eventually moving up to the slightly more dangerous Dodgeball(broken glasses and bloody noses, here we come!):


By the time the mid to late 80s rolled around, we started getting a bit more daring with our fitness toys. Behold, the Pogoball! Granter of many a skinned knee.


Then we took it a step further, acquiring our first skateboard:


Before moving on to the skateboards everyone wanted, from Santa Cruz and Vision:

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The boys wore Vision Street Wear kicks, while the girls all wanted LA Gear Flames:



When the late 80s reared its head, we were on to sillier pursuits, such as the Abdomenizer:


Richard Simmons Deal-a-Meal:


and the bane of many a school gym class, Sweatin To The Oldies. How many of us decided to skip out of gym class when we saw this sitting on the AV Cart?:


With the advent of neon biker shorts, we finished off the decade in true 80s style, silly, but fun and easy:

Yes, this is me, circa 1989. Note also the 17th Street Surf Shop shirt. HUGE in the late 80s on the East Coast/VA Beach area of the US.

I hope you all enjoyed this look back on the Fitness fads and fashion of the 1980s as much as I did. What do you remember most about fitness in the Decade of Excess?


4 thoughts on “1980’s Fitness Fads Photo Flashback

  1. I remember my mom doing Mary Hart exercise videos in the mornings, and then when I got older I did those videos for a while, too. I still don’t understand how people wore those leotard/onesie things to workout in and still felt comfortable (especially the thong ones). Yikes!

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