Blackpool has just hosted the annual, popular International Fitness Showcase at the Winter Gardens, where instructors, fitness professionals and exercise fanatics get together for a weekend of sweat and the all the latest training trends.
But fitness classes in Blackpool are nothing new, as these archive pictures show.
Women – and some men – of all ages can be seen bending, stretching and stepping their way to better bodies, in what used to be known as “keep-fit classes” in the early 80s and 90s.
Lycra and leotards were not compulsory, but were certainly en vogue!
It was an era in which actress Jane Fonda’s Workout video became the highest-selling video of the time – the first of 12 she released over the next 13 years. And when the Green Goddess, Diana Moran, had a regular exercise section on breakfast TV.
The steps used in the first step classes were not the sophisticated, specially-designed aerobic steps around these days, made from plastic and rubber – but they were crudely-fashioned boxes made of wood, as can be seen in this shot from 1991.
Pictured is instructor Ivan Danks leading a step class at Fitness Factory, on Princess Street Trading Estate, Blackpool. The gym was the first in the area to teach step classes. Veronica Hunter, who ran the club with her partner Ivan, told The Gazette that the latest keep-fit craze, from America, burned 30 per cent fat than any other aerobic workout – and it was fun too.
And proving you’re never too old to get in shape were the get-up-and-go grannies of Cleveleys, in this archive photo from 1986.
It shows an exercise session, taking place at the Brighton Rooms, on Brighton Avenue, for ‘mature’ women, run by Mrs Dorothy Cross. The oldest of the members was approaching 80, while the baby of the class was in her 40s. And Dorothy herself was 60. The two-hour sessions involved a 20-minute break for a cuppa and a chat!