15 Truly Bizarre Old-Timey Fitness Fads And Contraptions

15 Truly Bizarre Old-Timey Fitness Fads And Contraptions

Ah, the ever-evolving history of health and wellness! From the 19th century mechanotherapy of Dr. Zander to the 21st century Bongo Boarding of the beach babes, the human race has always sought out ways to stay healthy, fit, and beautiful. And, of course, our methods of achieving these goals have changed drastically over the years. From the Reduce-o-Matic of the 1940s to the Vinegar and Water Diet of Lord Byron’s 1820s, we’ve seen it all. 

But one thing has remained constant: our human desire to look and feel our best. From the Molby Revolving Hammock of the 1920s to the portable Finnish saunas of the 1960s, we have always sought out new and innovative ways to stay in shape and look our best. 

So, if you’re looking to get in shape and stay healthy, why not take a journey through time and explore some of the most interesting and unusual fitness trends of the past? From the belt vibrators of the 1900s to the facial exercises of centuries ago, this list has it all. So buckle up and get ready to explore the wild and wonderful world of fitness from the past!

Slim down with Lord Byron’s 1820 Vinegar and Water Diet!

CRACKED LOSE WEIGHT THE 1820 WAY-WITH LORD BYRON'S VINEGAR AND WATER. Lord Byron popularized the Vinegar and Water Diet in 1820, which involved drinking a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar.

CNN / Mashed 

Beachside fitness: 1950s women balance on Bongo Boards.

CRACKED BEACH BABES OF THE 50S: BONGO BOARDING THEIR WAY TO A BETTER BOD. In the 1950s, a group of swimsuit-clad women used Bongo Boards, a type of balance board, to work out on the beach in Palo Alto, California. The boards were designed to help people strengthen their core muscles and improve their balance.

Daily Mail 

Heat up your travels: Portable Finnish saunas.

CRACKED SAUNAS: THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL COMPANION SINCE 1962. Portable Finnish saunas have been around since 1962 and are still popular today, with the Finnish Olympic teams reportedly taking them with them when they leave the country for competitions.

The Atlantic 

Rationed rubber? No problem. Shed pounds with the Reduce-o-Matic!

CRACKED LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT GIRDLES! TRY THE REDUCE-O-MATIC! ReducOM The Reduce-o-Matic was a device created in the 1940s to help women lose weight during World War II when rubber for girdles and corsets was rationed. It was a portable sweat box that was meant to help women slim down.

Womans World 

”Torture your body into shape!”

CRACKED PROBLEM AREAS? NO PROBLEM! TRY THE SLENDERIZING SALON! In 1940, LIFE Magazine captured a model testing out the Slenderizing Salon, a New York fitness fad that promised to reduce women's problem areas without exercise. The machines used metal rollers to massage the body and looked more like a torture chamber than a gym.

Huff Post 

“Fight the evils of sedentary life: Visit Gustav Zander’s pioneering gym!”

CRACKED GET FIT AND FLAUNT YOUR STATUS: GUSTAV ZANDER'S GYM MACHINES! Gustav Zander's institute in Stockholm was the first gym in the sense we know it today, and his machines were prototypes of the workout equipment now ubiquitous in American life. His machines were marketed to the rising American business class as a way to prevent the evils engendered by a sedentary life and were seen as a mark of status, while the working class were not thought to need such treatments.

Cabinet Magazine 

Hydrotherapy, phototherapy, and electrotherapy – oh my!

CRACKED KNEADING AND COLONIC MACHINES: THE SECRET TO A HEALTHIER YOU! I John Harvey Kellogg was a physician who believed that nutrition could be used to treat medical conditions and invented a variety of food products and machines to promote healthy living. Не also used hydrotherapy, phototherapy, and electrotherapy to treat his patients and developed a kneading machine and colonic machine to help cleanse the body.

Atlas Obscura 

Dimples made easy – with a 1936 invention.

CRACKED DIMPLES WITHOUT SURGERY-JUST A SPRING-LOADED CONTRAPTION. to order! These aids to beauty can be produced as the result of a new invention by Isabella Gil- bert of Roches- ter, N. Y. The device consists of Isabella Gilbert invented a spring-loaded contraption in 1936 that promised to give people dimples, requiring a serious commitment to use it.

The Atlantic 

Swing your way to health and vitality!

CRACKED GET A STRAIGHT, STRONG AND SUPPLE SPINE-MOLBY REVOLVING HAMMOCK! The MOLBY Revolving Hammock In 1922, the Molby Revolving Hammock was popular for its ability to help people achieve a straight, strong and supple spine, and it was believed to bring health and vitality.


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