When you hear the word “aerobics,” does an image like this come to mind?

Ahhh, the one-piece leotards and tights. Work it, girls! (Picture credit:

Thank goodness no one goes to the gym looking like this anymore.

These women know how to catch an eye, as well as how to grape-vine, do the box step, and "kick, kick, kick!"

Today aerobics in general has morphed into something dramatically different than the Jazzercise-craze of the 1970s and 80s (although Wikipedia reports 32,000 Jazzercise classes being taught weekly all over the world… and you thought you’d escaped them forever). When I hear the word “aerobics,” however, this is what I think of. Jazzercise.

My youth consisted of years of wishing to join my mom on a step and do those awesome routines along to pulsing music. I got my wish when my mom bought me a punch card and I became an official “Junior Jazzerciser”, going to classes with other 6-11 year-old kids. When I graduated to the “adult” jazzercise class, I had never been so happy. It was really fun, I will admit. Yes, it was truly a blast! I sweated, I danced, I hooted and hollered with a bunch of women (and one dedicated guy, coming every week with more passion than some of the women) ranging from twenty-five to sixty-five.

Today’s buffet of exercise options has expanded to include, along with aerobics classes, spinning, Pilates, yoga, and cardio and weight-training classes, as well as personal gym memberships. No longer is “aerobics” the main entry on the calendar for a workout-week. But aerobics classes are still offered, and I suspect that their members wear slightly more toned-down outfits. Aerobics isn’t just Jazzercise-crazy; hey, they even offer aerobics classes at the college I attend (but I’m pretty sure you won’t find any college students wearing leotards or leg warmers)

It’s never been more popular to dress up in those 80s and 90s jazzercise-styles for parties or theme nights, mocking those pioneer years of women’s fitness by sporting neon and spandex.

Aerobics probably holds a dear place in the hearts of many who participated (okay, maybe for myself. Maybe.). However, I imagine that for years to come, my generation will have defined “aerobics” as something foreign and strange, something to be mocked, a term that applies to our mothers and aunts, a word that brings a slight smile to our faces.

Then we’ll all head for the gym and hop on the elliptical for 30 minutes with our iPods. Is this as fun as the magic of Jazzercise? Debatable…


4 thoughts on “Aerobics

  1. Those pictures = WIN!!!

    I did Step work-outs in the family room with my mom when I was little and took a Step class here at Hope last year. SO MUCH FUN!!!

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