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History of Aerobics

History of Aerobics

Aerobics has gone a long way in the physical exercise programs . Invented in the 1960s by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, a physician at a Texas, United States hospital, it was initially designed as a form of physical exercise for the prevention of heart diseases. In 1968, Cooper published his book titled “Aerobics” dealing in exercise programs based on such physical activities as walking, running, bicycling and swimming, among others. The book was a success among many Americans who wanted to do away with the bad effects of sedentary lifestyle by engaging in physical exercises. Within 20 years after 1968, aerobic exercise in various forms expanded in the U.S. and other countries, having six million participants in 1978 and more than 20 million in 1987. By that time up to the early 1990s, aerobic programs had been reaping commercial successes with the creation of the Jazzercise program, launching of a television series on aerobics, and the popularization of cardio boxing exercises through tae bo. Devised by Judi Sheppard Missett, the Jazzercise program is a 60-minute dance-based fitness program that merges jazz dance with resistance training. The TV show on aerobic exercises was hosted by Richard Simmons and led to his release of a series of aerobic exercise videos. Tae bo was developed by Billy Blanks, a practitioner of taekwondo, to combine ballet and hip-hop dancing with some forms of martial arts like taekwondo, boxing and karate.

Aerobic DVDs for home exercise

Different forms of aerobics emerged as the exercise became useful to the general population. These forms include dance aerobics, step aerobics, water aerobics, and sports aerobics. In 1983, sport aerobics, which is now called aerobic gymnastics, was developed as a new competitive sport by Howard and Karen Schwartz for their newly organized Sport Fitness International company. In 1980,the first world competition on sport aerobics was held in San Diego, California, drawing competitors from 15 countries for four categories such as individual female, individual male, trio and mixed pairs. Following another world championship in 1995, the Federation Internationale Gymnastique adopted sport aerobics as a gymnastic discipline. Step aerobics originated in 1989 while Gin Miller, a female competitive gymnast, was undergoing physical therapy for overuse knee injury. As she was rehabilitating the muscles of her knee by stepping up and down a milk box, she thought of including aerobic music to do away with boredom and used porch steps instead of the milk box. This gave birth to what is known today as step aerobics.


As early as 1982, sport aerobics began to be promoted worldwide by the International Aerobics Federation through its headquarters in the U.S. and Japan. The sport aerobics became more popular around the world with the establishment of the Fitness and Aerobics International Association (FAIA). The association helped organize international championships in the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia. In 1990, organizers also held the Suzuki World International Aerobic Championship, the first of its kind in the world. The competition has been annually since then. Currently, the International Aerobic Federation (IAF) cooperates with the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique to control international gymnastics . It also continues to seek recognition of sport aerobics as an official event in the Olympic Games.

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