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In terms of ways we help to stay fit, we have come a long way since Richard Simmons introduced us to Sweatin’ To The Oldies and Olivia Newton-John implored us to “Get Physical.” Of course, these were all 1980’s fads that have come and gone, like so many others. Fitness technology has come a long way since then and interactive fitness is a fine example. Let’s take a break from our Exerbike, Active Wall or Interactive Climbing to read up about the fitness crazes from the last few decades.

The 1990’s began with the rise of the Thighmaster, as so elegantly promoted by Suzanne Somers. This device consisted of two pieces of metal tubing connected by a hinge that worked your hips. As with most fitness products at any juncture in time, the Thighmaster emphasized that you can workout while doing something else, like watching Suzanne Somers work out on the Thighmaster. The mechanism and concept were simple and the Thighmaster could also be used to work your hamstrings and biceps.

In 1998, Chuck Norris introduced Americans to the Total Gym. And because he is Chuck Norris, people were too afraid not to buy one. The Total Gym was yet another home training system designed for strength train and stretching among other things. The Total Gym brand was actually first launched in the early 1970’s but didn’t hit the mainstream until 1997. This is mainly because Chuck Norris started using the device after suffering a rotator cuff injury. In addition to marketing by Chuck Norris, Christie Brinkley was also featured, an excellent choice at the time to help the machine appeal to the female population.

MyFitnessPal was launched in 2005 and is basically an application for your mobile device that tracks diet and exercise. This was one of the most successful apps in the field and is still popular today. But as far as actual exercise, you still have to do that on your own as the app only serves as a guide to what to eat and what to do for optimal fitness. This has since morphed into other products like the Fitbit which tracks your activities of the day as well as keeps track of calories burned and intake of calories.

In 2007, we saw the birth of the WII Fit, a very popular platform that sold more than a quarter-million copies in the first week of sales.

Jump forward to 2009 when we saw the Shake Weight mania that swept the country. The Shake Weight is basically a modified dumbbell that oscillates. The infomercial went viral and spawned a myriad of parodies. Yet despite the widespread mockery of the product, the Shake Weight sold over two million the first year on the market and raked in over $40 million in sales. However, a study in Consumer Reports states that the Shake Weight’s exercises are inferior to conventional exercises and it was found to burn fewer calories than simply walking.

And there you have it, a short history of fitness gadgets.




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