Jack LaLanne, Susan Powter, Richard Simmons, Jazzercise, Dwight Eisenhower, Pilates, Billy Blanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John F. Kennedy...
What am I getting exactly? Well, they are all part of the history of fitness.
Fitness, for Americans per se, became popular in the 1950's, when Eisenhower was president. In sum, an exercise fitness test was conducted on America children to then be compared against children in European countries. It was during the Cold War so competition was everything.
Unfortunately, we did not fare well. Subsequently, President Eisenhower took the first steps toward gaining national attention for the failing fitness levels of our country. Later it was President Kennedy, another proponent of exercise, who put it very succinctly when he stated, "Physical fitness is the basis for all other forms of excellence."
Fast forward a half century...
Today the fitness industry is flooded with gyms, gizmos, gadgets, diets and other ways to do everything bigger, better and faster. Diet and fitness became a multibillion dollar industry producing such memorable products as the Thigh Master, "stop the madness" mantras and "Sweating to the Oldies" DVDs. There is a product or diet for everyone imaginable -- a marketing bombshell with no end of takers in site.
Fitness became much more about the vanity of the person than the wellness of the individual. It was no longer about fitness being the basis for all forms of excellence. Society became obsessed with thin and pretty vs. healthy and well. After all, thin and pretty sells.
Now for some positive news
The wellbeing of the whole individual seems to be refocusing. There is new spotlight on the whole individual's needs vs. just the pretty exterior.
More and more information is making its way into the spotlight showcasing the direct connection between one's mind and body. There is much more publicity directed at addressing not only the issues associated with sedentary lifestyle and being overweight but the mental and emotional influences contributing to the situation.
A good majority of fitness professionals -- me included -- are evolving to meet these new insights and have redirected from just training the body to training the individual as an individual.
As always, a new slew of celebrities and famous individuals, touting the wonders of a healthy lifestyle for mind, body and soul have come to the forefront.
It's no doubt that the products marketers are moving fast too catch the wave of wellness. However, as a person and as a wellness professional, it is always best to keep things simple.
Remember, fitness without a mind/emotion connection is really just going through a motion. There is no long-term connection.
Fitness is a task, instead of wellness being a lifestyle. So, always start within first to determine why you are even looking down the path.
Alicia is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and a Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant. The owner of Evolution Total Wellness in New York is also the author of "Oscar & Otis, Fat Fighters." For more information, visit OscarandOtis.com.