The concept of fitness as we know it today may seem to be relatively novel, but physical activity has a much older history. The world’s first gym was opened in 1892 in Stockholm. It was built for patients and had several exercise machines. Throughout the early 20th century, people used elaborate contraptions, painful machines, strange devices, and strange poses to attain their ideal bodies.
Vibrating exercise belts were invented in the 1800s, but they didn’t gain popularity until the 1930s and the 1950s. The idea was to vibrate the fat fast enough to loosen it, then burn it off. Another interesting machine was the Slendo Massager. It consisted of coiled springs that rolled over your stomach, hips, and thighs to rid your body of fat. Fitness guru Jack LaLanne developed several pieces of equipment in the 1950s that have been widely used. LaLanne invented the first cable-pulley machine, the Smith machine, and the first leg extension machine. Many gyms around the world use equipment based on the same mechanical principles. Dick Hartzell first used resistance bands, which are essentially strips of elastic that create resistance as they are stretched, for functional training in 1980. Manufacturers have modified resistance bands by adding handles and anchors, allowing them to mimic almost any exercise that can be done with free weights in the gym but without the bulk, making them much more portable than free weights.
The treadmill was introduced in 1875, but it was not used for exercise. It was used for manufacturing. Dr. Robert A. Bruce began using treadmills for stress tests in 1952 at the University of Washington in Seattle. Businessmen saw this opportunity and turned the treadmill into a treadmill that allows people to jog or run naturally while staying seated. Treadmills became common in homes and gyms by the 1960s. The first elliptical machines were released in the mid-1990s and have rivaled treadmills in popularity ever since. Elliptical machines are similar to treadmills but place less stress on the lower body.
Here are some weird exercise machines and bizarre methods of exercise that people used in the past.