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Retro Workouts Are Making a Serious Comeback

Actress Jane Fonda exercising in 1983. Getty

Actress Jane Fonda exercising in 1983. Photo: Getty

Retro workouts are making a comeback especially now that gyms and studios are on lockdown, and everyone finds themselves inside. Turn back the clocks, to the time of video culture where celebrities were known to prance about in bright outfits showcasing their very own upbeat routines. Featuring some serious dance and electronic music, some incredible backup dancers and buckets full of enthusiasm, they are set to get even the laziest of us off our couches.

Although some of the moves will cause modern-day instructors to grimace, the basics are as effective as there were back then. Just remember to always warm-up and build your stamina. It’s time to dust off that lycra, embrace the best fitness the 80s had to offer and get ready for a hit of stress-relieving endorphins as we round up the workouts you need to try at home.

Dance Aerobics

Grapevines, step touches and knee lifts? It must be the making of an aerobics class. Most commonly featuring a choreographed dance-like routine, these workouts featured hi/lo impact and for a one-hour class, you could look at burning 455 calories up.

Hula Hooping

If you have a hula hoop hiding away in your house gathering dust somewhere, its time go find it. Named after the Hawaiian hula dance, it is known to help improve balance, strengthen your core and help you burn calories. Gaining popularity first in the 1950s it began to see a resurgence in popularity during the early 2000s with reports of just 10 minutes of hula hooping burning up to 100 calories.

Tae Bo

Started by American fitness guru Billy Blanks in his garage in 1982, Tae Bo brought together a little bit of boxing and a little bit of tae kwon do. It reached peak popularity in the 1990s.


Invented in the 1960s by dance instructor Judi Sheppard Missett, she realized her students weren’t at her classes to learn dance but to exercise. By the 1980s there were over 2700 instructors trained in the activity. Although cheesy with its fusion of diverse dance moves, there’s no doubt that jazzercise is effective in not only bringing a smile to your face but burning calories too. A 60-minute class is said to, at a minimum burn 430 calories.

Step Aerobics

Don’t be fooled step aerobics is harder than it looks. Working with a bench, this no stop workout is high-intensity cardio. Developed by gymnast Gin Miller to strengthen muscles in the knee after an injury, those giving it their all can burn up to 600 calories in an hour. Make it more difficult by adding hand or ankle weights.

The Celebrity Workout

Imagine your favorite celebrity bouncing around in a neon leotard. In the 80s this was the norm with actress-cum-activist Jane Fonda leading the way. Performing acrobatic feats without breaking a sweat she led the way for Cher, La Toya Jackson, and Cindy Crawford in the 1990s.

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