Five Figure Exercises

A series in which Jackie Clune flexes her muscles and looks out her legwarmers as she investigates the history of some of our major fitness trends.



When the New Zealand athletics coach Arthur Lydiard worked out a new way of improving stamina over long distances, hundreds of people began taking it up and the word jogging was born.

Now millions do it in parks and streets all over the world.


While working with astronauts, Kenneth Cooper discovered that aerobic exercise greatly improves fitness.


As a youngster, Joseph Pilates developed an interest in body conditioning which stayed with him all his life.


It has been a craze for decades; people train for hours to get just the right muscle definition, but why?

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Kickboxing, Tae Bo, the Bowen technique, Nordic walking with poles and core training - just some of the new ideas inspiring fitness fanatics.

How do new trends evolve, and why are we so keen on the next big thing?