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Retro Exercises That Deserve a Comeback

Put on your legwarmers, play some of your favorite oldies tunes and let's get physical with these retro exercises.

retro exercise

Before the rise of Zumba and the allure of goat yoga, exercise trends of the past captivated audiences of a different era. Much of what we now consider to be retro fitness led to popular workouts used today, like  jazzercise and Zumba. Others have fallen to the wayside, fading to a distant memory. Grab a sweatband, cue up your oldies playlist and check out these retro exercises that surely deserve a comeback.

Get Rolling

The lights, the music, the disco ball! The ‘70s would not have been complete without the roller disco. Roller rinks were a popular hangout spot. When paired with the decade’s signature disco music, became a funky way to have fun with friends. Regardless of its ups and downs on the popularity scale, roller skating is a great way to stay in shape. According to Roller Skating Association International, skating for one hour per week can burn 600 calories. This retro exercise works out most of the major muscle groups while causing 50% less stress on your joints than running. Enroll in a roller skating or dancing class to learn to skate, refine your skills or brush up on your dance moves. Skaterobics combines roller skating and roller dancing for the ultimate fun way to fitness on wheels.

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Tone Up with Television

Do you remember tuning in to “The Jack LaLanne Show”? How about “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons? Did you pop workout video tapes into your VHS player, ready to get fit with Jane Fonda? These fitness gurus were welcomed with open arms into American homes for decades and quickly became household names. They preached the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet, while providing an opportunity to work out in the comfort of your own home. If the classic “I have no time to exercise” excuse is a constant in your life, try a different tactic to fit in some fitness. Instead of watching another rerun, don your exercise best – legwarmers, anyone? – and try out a fitness program. On-demand fitness channels are available across many television providers. There are programs catered to any age or intensity level, plus many don’t require any exercise equipment at all.

retro exercise

Channel Your Inner Child

Think back to your childhood to warm, summer days and your outdoor playtime staple: the hula hoop. Wham-O released these large plastic hoops to the public in 1958 after discovering students in Australia twirling wooden hoops around their waists as exercise. Hula hoops were an instant hit and 25 million were sold in just a few months. Exercise and playtime can be combined into a fun workout with this backyard toy. Hula hooping is an effective way to burn calories and exercise your core. According to a study from the American Council on Exercise, hula hooping can burn roughly 210 calories per 30-minute workout. Plus, it’s a great workout for your abdominals, lower back, hips and obliques. The best part? Your kids can get in on the action too!

Step It Up

Turning back the clock to the late 1980s, step aerobics combined dance, music and exercise to create an effective cardiovascular workout, all centered around an adjustable platform that can be raised or lowered for any intensity level. The American Heart Association recommends regular endurance exercise – like step aerobics – to reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. This retro workout is great to get the heart pumping, not to mention getting some full-body exercise and burning calories. Many fitness centers and gyms hold step aerobics classes. And if you wanted to wear some nostalgic workout fashion, we won’t judge.

Bounce Back

Trampolines aren’t just for kids anymore. Mini trampolines – also known as rebounders – are making a comeback as a beneficial fitness tool for regular exercise, considered a fad in the ‘70s and ‘80s. There are plenty of positives to a bouncy exercise routine. The American Council on Exercise reported that rebounding improves overall cardio-respiratory fitness. This workout also puts less stress on joints, bones and ligaments, making it a good workout for seniors. If safety is a concern, rest assured bouncing is limited to a low height and support bars can be used to hold on to during workouts.

What are your favorite retro workouts? Share in the comments! Get more health and fitness tips

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