Despite their spartan equipment, Health Clubs were still able to attract non-exercisers in large numbers during the 60’s and 70’s. As long as the Clubs were prepared to cater exclusively for the deconditioned population, Clients were prepared to put up with the equipment, however unsophisticated it happened to be. As Universal Health Clubs ran out of steam in the mid 60’s, a British company, Olympic Health Studios, stepped up the pace and behind them came many other private clubs. As more and more opened, it became quite fashionable to be a member of a Health Club.
Because of the growing public and media interest in gymnasiums ITV sent a camera with a reporter who's name was Chris Tarrant to report on the activities availble, photos below show Chris Tarrant having his heart rate checked by Pete Landon, Chris Tarrant went on to become famous for the childrens show Tizwas, O.T.T., Capital Radio and later Who wants to be a millionaire. After his report Chris Tarrant, Lenny Henry, Bob Carolgees, Sally James, John Gorman and the whole tizwas team became enthusiastic members of the Corinthian Health Club in Birmingham.
Within five years, Kenneth Cooper had published his book ‘Aerobics’ based on research as Director of Fitness for NASA’s space programme. His book spawned the jogging and marathon running phenomenon and ultimately, the ‘Aerobic dance exercise’ craze. Now it seemed, you were no body unless you exercised. When the leading Hollywood star of the day (Jane Fonda) gave her badge of approval for a daily exercise regime, it was no longer considered acceptable to be unfit or overweight.
Suddenly, Slim was ‘in’ and Gyms became ‘home’ to the super body and the fitness enthusiast. No longer were Health Clubs giving a warm welcome to those that failed to fall into that category, the deconditioned and overweight, that now became Gymaphobics (Gymaphobic, dislike of gymnasiums).
As the lycra clad females with slender bodies in trendy new leg warmers rushed to weight train and join ‘aerobics’ classes at their local health club, so the overweight and sedentary Clients slunk quietly away into the night. By the early seventies the sedentary masses had left the Gyms more or less entirely to the ‘super fit’ brigade and had returned to their old inactive way of life (premature death).
Read more at https://www.benenden.co.uk/100yrsfitness/index.html#xWSHlzCTjMcy22gJ.99 about 100 years of exercise.