New book takes a look at the messy, fabulous history of women’s fitness


Fitness is huge enterprise; globally, the complete market share of the fitness membership trade alone is over $87 billion, based on 2021 findings from Statista, a market and knowledge analysis agency. (That identical report recognized the latest standout fitness developments as fitness trackers, HIIT, group coaching, train courses for older adults, and body weight coaching.) 6.1 million Americans participate in train courses at least twice a month. 

It’s laborious to recollect a time when train wasn’t a huge half of our lives — and sweating wasn’t one thing any respectable lady would do (in the first half of the twentieth century, medical doctors allowed mild calisthenics for ladies, however cautioned in opposition to extra strenuous train, fearing that it would make a lady’s uterus fall out.) 

“While fitness culture today can feel sleek and sometimes sterile, the story of how women’s exercise developed in the twentieth century until now, I discovered, is weird and messy and awkward and glamorous,” writes Friedman in her new book, “Let’s Get Physical: How Women Discovered Exercise and Reshaped the World,” writer Danielle Friedman (GP Putnam’s Sons). “It’s rich with cinematic characters and forgotten pioneers of what we now call self-care. But more than that, it’s the story of a paradigm shift in the way women, so long accepted as the ‘weaker sex,’ came to view their bodies.” 

Bonnie Prudden, an American mountaineer teamed up with Dr. Hans Kraus to develop and administer a 90-second physical fitness evaluation of American children. Only 58 percent passed.
Bonnie Prudden, an American mountaineer, teamed up with Dr. Hans Kraus to develop and administer a 90-second bodily fitness analysis of American kids. Only 58 % handed.

The book takes a fascinating look at the world of fashionable train and a few of the predominant feminine gamers in it, from the barre phenomenon to marathons, the ’80s aerobics craze to Instagram fitness influencers.

Author Danielle Friedman
Author Danielle Friedman
Lindsay May for Classic Kids Photography

One part introduces readers to Bonnie Prudden, an American mountaineer and descendant of Davy Crockett who teamed up with Dr. Hans Kraus to develop and administer a 90-second bodily fitness analysis of American kids.

American younger individuals failed the check at a dismal price of 58 %, whereas their European counterparts in Italy, Austria and Switzerland had solely an 8 % failure price. Eventually the report would discover its solution to the Oval workplace of President Dwight Eisenhower, the place it will turn out to be often called “The Report that Shocked the President.”

Eisenhower referred to as for the creation of the President’s Council on Youth Fitness, and thus the Presidential Fitness check — that staple of almost each American public faculty expertise — was born, pull-ups, shuttle runs and all.   

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