I think that it is true that a picture speaks a thousand words although sometimes it is unclear what the words might be. Maybe LOL.
The Listener article on the fitness craze sweeping New Zealand in February 1982 is fairly dismissive of one type of new fangled exercise called Jazzercise.
Jazzercise is a commercial con where the franchisers dance all the way to the bank and most of the customers limp home, say critics.
It attracts women, and I have the sense that this is the underlying thing that makes the journalist sceptical (although she too is a woman), as if it were news that women like dancing and that dancing is good exercise. The other main picture in the article featuring a woman is this:
I really have no idea what she is doing, but she’s really into it. Hard out.
In 1982 the main gyms in New Zealand, The Listener tells us, were the YMCA, YWCA, Les Mills and Clive Green. Jogging, we are told, had become the number three leisure activity and interest in New Zealand after rugby and swimming. Les Mills believes that centres likes his will become more popular “as people have more leisure and less work.” I knew Les was a former discus tosser but I didn’t know he was a comedian as well.
Mills was invited last year to be a consultant for the Oamaru Licensing Trust when they opened a health centre adjoining a tavern. The pub-gym combination did not bother Mills. “It’s part of our society having a beer.”
Jogging was so popular that we even tried a family jog when I was about seven or eight. I’m pretty sure we did it once and never again. It was important to wear stupid clothes when you exercised. I had velcro running shoes and a blue track suit.
I’m guessing you want me to explain what I am doing with the cat, but I’m not going to. Any relation between this picture and animal erotica is purely coincidental. Anyway, the big problem with this tracksuit, aside from the cat, was that the pants clung to your crotch. Which was quite awkward. Whenever I wore the pants I spent most of my time leaning forward slightly so that the pants would balloon forward in more ambiguous way. This made it quite hard to run. Which I think, as I said, we only did once. The point of sportswear as fashion was that it was fashion and not sportswear. Which is true to this day.
I had an unhappy relationship with running at primary school. The school I went to made us go for a 2km run at least once a week, and sometimes a 5km run just for fun. I was a rubbish runner at primary school. The 2km run may as well have been a marathon. Athletics was worse because you had an audience. My last year at primary I found myself locked in an epic struggle across 100 metres for second-to-last. With every fibre of my body I just managed to avoid last place, grimly snatching second-to-last away from some poor pudgy fellow who probably only had one leg and was blind (my memory is unclear).
Aerobics Oz Style used to be on TV early in the morning and my mother videoed it (check out that 80s sentence: videoing an aerobics show). Sometimes I sneakily did one of the routines while my mum was out. There was a really good routine set to Prince’s song America. If you know the song you will know that it is really fast. Great routine. If only I could remember it now I could bust out some pretty impressive moves on the dance floor at the next awkward middle-aged dance that I go to.
I would be surprised if jogging is still the number three sports activity in New Zealand, but aerobics has lasted pretty well in its various forms, and still draws women into gyms.