Aerobic, spandex and headbands: the best fitness trends of the 80s

Many of us remember the eighties with a big smile on our faces, making it inevitable not to feel a bit nostalgic when thinking about this decade. Television shows such as Alf and Power Rangers, the collection of cassettes with songs from the radio or our great fashion sense are just a few examples. It might seem like everything was better in the eighties but, can we say the same about the fitness trends that were going strong? Do you remember what you wore to the gym or the most practiced sports during the 80s? Let us refresh your memory!

Working out with Jane Fonda


The actress Jane Fonda made it into the home’s of millions of Americans, helping them get into shape from their sitting room. To break a sweat with her all you needed was a VHS player, space to move and a headband, the brighter the better!

Her stretches and choreographies made her famous in the entire world, selling tapes and books with her best-known exercises around the globe. Today’s fitness influencers are lucky to not have her as a competitor because, who would be able to resist those leg-warmers?

Gym machines turn digital

During the 80s, the first digital machines started to be used in gyms . The company Lifecycle changed its name to Life Fitness, a brand that’s still going strong today in fitness centres all around the world, including Activate Sports Club. Although with machines that are a little bit more modern!

During this decade, stationary bikes became a big hit in people’s homes. They were soon considered a great option to combine people’s  favourite TV workout with a bit of cycling from home.


Step classes

One of the fitness trends that’s still going strong today is step. Back in the day it was a revolution in the fitness world, going one step further and introducing a new element in aerobic classes, making the choreos a little harder. More than 30 years later, many gyms continue offering step among their group classes, the difference between than and now? That nowadays it’s very rare to see someone with leg-warmers and wristbands during the class, what a shame, right?

The most popular sports

Have you ever wondered what everyone who plays paddle tennis was doing in the eighties? Probably a very different sport!

Apart from football which, let’s face it, has been and will most likely continue being one of the most popular sports in the world, the curious case of racquetball is worth mentioning. If you watch a film of the eighties where they play some kind of sport, it’s most likely to be racquetball!

Running in the 80s

Another sport that’s maintained its popularity throughout the years is Running. Although, years ago we wouldn’t be signing up to a running club, but we’d be going out jogging.

The evolution of this sport is quite curious, as after being known as jogging, people started calling it footing and now, maybe because they’ve gotten so good at it that they go faster, it’s called running. Who knows what it’ll be called in 10 years time!


Although fitness briefs over Spandex pants are a cuestionable fashion trend, there’s no doubt that the 80s were a great decade for exercise, revolutionizing the fitness world forever.

If after reading this post you wish the eighties were back, then don’t miss the party Trapped in the 80s that will take place the 5th of April in Activate Sports Club in Costa Adeje.


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