The 1930’s fitness revolution

miniature knitting
© F H Powell 2011
miniature knitting
© F H Powell 2014

The 1930’s saw an explosion in health and fitness awareness. This was not an isolated mood change but was pretty much a global craze.

In the US Jack LaLanne who was known as “the godfather of fitness” (and at the time of writing is now aged 94) is credited with starting the fitness craze in the 1930s on Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. In 1936 he also opened his own gym in Oakland and many of today’s fitness machines were inventions of LaLanne.

But it want not just in the US that the health and fitness regime was popular. A similar movement started at the beginning of the 20th century in Germany. This lasted until the 1930’s when it also became hijacked by the Nazi youth movement. It’s roots however go back to the 1890’s where there were a number of health publications condoning healthy living including the Vegetarische Rundschau (Vegetarian Review) which supported bathing and vegetarianism as a means of achieving a healthy life.

Many forms of exercise were viewed as good for exercise. Not only enjoyable but calorie burning too, the Jitterbug was a dance craze that swept America during the mid 1930’s. Driven by Cab Callowayss song the “Call of the Jitter Bug” and associate film “Cab Calloway’s Jitterbug Party” the craze became a coast to coast phenomenon.

In the UK too the health and fitness craze was shown in the growth of the Lido. By the 1930’s swimming in its own right had become popular and the Lido a natural attraction for swimmers. The Lido was not solely the property of the holiday camp. In the 1920’s and 30’s many towns and cities opened their own Lidos including Blackpool, Plymouth, Skegness, Brighton and Morecambe.

We have a selection of 1:12th scale knitting patterns