Category:
Exercise and Fitness

High School Fitness

Imagine trying to institute such a program in a high school today!

And of course, nothing said of what the girls are doing.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 19, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Education, Exercise and Fitness, 1960s

Debbie Drake, fitness pioneer

Debbie Drake was the first woman to have a daily exercise show on TV. The show's intended audience was housewives, but as the Physical Culture Study blog notes, it was more popular with men:

Debbie Drake’s The Debbie Drake Show went national in 1961 and warned female viewers about the consequences of an unhappy marriage if they did not take care of their bodies. Drake’s media outreach included a newspaper column titled “Date with Debbie,” exercise albums and books, and a Barbie-like doll sold by Sears in the early 60s. Alluring and wearing a tight-fitting leotard that emphasized her incredible figure, Drake was reported as being more distracting than encouraging as a fitness instructor. No doubt this was aided by the fact that many stations broadcast her show at off hours, guaranteeing larger numbers of male viewers who appreciated her sexual appeal.



Posted By: Alex - Mon May 11, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, 1960s

Exercise Wings

Richard Burgess's 1941 patent (No. 2,244,444) describes a pair of feathered wings that could be attached to the arms of an individual, who would then flap the wings up and down. This, claimed Burgess, would create a sense of buoyancy, while simultaneously providing physical exercise. In particular, it would "develop the chest, back, arm and leg muscles, while also tending to create accelerated breathing and thus general physical tone." It would do all this, he said, while also being "very diverting and accordingly attractive."

How did this product never take off?

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 10, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, Inventions, 1940s

Niralamba Purna Chakrasana World Record

World records for extreme yoga moves. Youth evidently confers a big advantage in being able to do this. It would be even more impressive to see this done by someone over 60.



This move looks like its straight out of The Exorcist.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 18, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, World Records

Exerlopers

The inventor of exerlopers, Gregory Lekhtman, believed that "we are not designed to run." Apparently he thought it would be better to leap around like antelopes instead.



Indiana Gazette - May 3, 1988

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 04, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, 1980s

Alois Swoboda



His Wikipedia page tells us:

His course did not use apparatus or exercise equipment. Claims in Swoboda's courses included the ability to regrow lost limbs and heal a heart damaged by a heart attack.


Article in POPULAR MECHANICS to be found here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 03, 2018 - Comments (7)
Category: Body, Bodybuilding, Diseases, Cult Figures and Artifacts, Exercise and Fitness, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Twentieth Century

Baby Olympics (and other ideas of Edwin Paget)

Retired professor Edwin Paget (1902-1989) decided that one of the problems with the world was that babies weren't exercising enough. Therefore, their brains started to go into decline. In an effort to correct this problem, he tried to organize what he claimed were the first ever "baby olympics" in the summer of 1980.

I'm not sure they were ever held, but events would have included "crawling, weightlifing, tug-of-war, 'head-over-heels rolling' and three aquatic events, including the 'leaping fish from the water' swim."

Paget advocated a number of other unusual ideas, such as periodic brain scans for U.S. presidents, to check that their brains had sufficient oxygen levels.

He believed that the rules of basketball should be revised so that the game would be played continuously, with all free throws shot at the end of the game.

And he also designed a line of women's clothing with built-in lighting, saying, "Unlike the bikini, which reveals almost everything, much of which is unattractive, lighting permits a homely girl to reveal only her best, possibly in color."

A former student of his remembers some of Paget's other oddball ideas here.

Twin Falls Times-News - Jun 19, 1980



Lincoln Journal Star - Dec 2, 1979



Auburn Journal - Aug 9, 1981



Bonus: Back in 1965 Paget campaigned to be the first gold prospector on the moon.

source: Historic Images



Amarillo Globe Times - Nov 3, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 23, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Babies, Eccentrics, Exercise and Fitness

Electric horse for exercise

Evidently there's a long history of horse riding simulators as exercise devices.

Electro-mechanical horse with five gaits
ranging from a trot to a running gallop.

Some of the benefits of horseback riding as a form of exercise can be obtained indoors with the aid of an electro-mechanical horse which not only provides fun for the children but sport for grown-ups as well. At a touch on the reins, the horse can be induced to break into any one of five gaits ranging from a trot to a gallop.
Source:Popular Mechanics - May 1936



A modern-day simulator — that no longer looks like an actual horse:



Update: another old time indoor horse exercise machine.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 30, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness

Peace Pilgrim II

The Peace Pilgrim (aka Mildred Lisette Norman) is fairly famous. In 1953 she began walking across America, wearing a shirt that said "Peace Pilgrim," and vowed to keep walking "until mankind has learned the way of peace." She was already an experienced walker when she started this, having been the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian trail in one season. She walked for 28 years until her death in 1981, logging over 25,000 miles.

Peace Pilgrim II (aka Ronald Podrow) isn't quite as famous or inspirational. In 1989, inspired by the first Peace Pilgrim, he adopted her name and also began walking to promote peace. But unlike her, he wasn't an experienced walker. From wikipedia:

Peace Pilgrim II was only able to walk the first year of his pilgrimage. After 2,000 miles on foot, his hips required surgical replacement, but he continued his pilgrimage thereafter with the aid of a donated car and Social Security benefits.

Peace Pilgrim II wrote a book about his experiences, Enjoying the Journey: The Adventures, Travels, and Teachings of Peace Pilgrim II. It was published in 1995.

More info.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 02, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, War

Chore your way to fitness

In 1972, Sears, Roebuck & Co. commissioned fitness expert Nicholas Kounovsky to devise exercises that could be done by housewives while vacuuming. He came up with the "Chore Your Way to Fitness" program. He wrote, "Your vacuum cleaner becomes a portable gym, and you can help tone up lazy muscles as you do your routine cleaning chores."

It sounds like this program was outlined in a pamphlet of some kind. But unfortunately I haven't been able to find a copy of this pamphlet anywhere.

The general concept reminds me of an earlier post from way back in 2012 — Jayne Mansfield's tips on exercising with a broomstick.

The Vidette Messenger - Dec 11, 1972



The San Mateo Times - Sep 27, 1972



The Joy of Feeling Fit, by Nicholas Kounovsky


Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 10, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, 1970s

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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