It’s not much of a stretch of the imagination to consider that workout videos originated as military physical training films, shown on bases to soldiers demonstrating the proper techniques for performing their exercise routines. Later on, similar short educational films were made for children in public school gym classes. After World War II, when television came into American households, this genre of inexpensive yet informative programming was firmly established, especially due to the efforts of Jack LaLanne. His eponymous TV show started way back in 1951, as a local program for KGO-TV, San Francisco’s ABC station. The Jack LaLanne Show went nationwide in 1959 and lasted on the airwaves until 1985. Jack LaLanne is certainly a 20th-century pioneer, championing the many benefits of healthy eating and exercise. The half-hour episodes defined the parameters of workout videos: watching, listening and following along to a physical education instructor as he demonstrated the correct positions and technique of every exercise then known, under the hot studio lights to the small audience of the studio staff and the wider audience at homes. Can you imagine that being broadcast live? |
How ungodly an hour would you have to wake up to get ready to perform like that in front of the camera in order to keep the housewives of America fit? How early an hour would the audience have to wake up as well? All for the benefits of good health. With the advent of video tape (mid 1960s) and tape players eventually getting set up in households everywhere (1970s-1980s) came the commercial home exercise video. The long-form workout videos got longer (an hour!), and while the playback formats changed from Beta to VHS to DVDs, the variety and quality of workout videos kept improving. Now there are videos to suit any style of exercise and every level of fitness, from beginner to advanced.
Through the second half of the 20th century, you can chart the technological development of workout videos along these lines: first, film; then television signal—originally broadcast live— then eventually syndication. Next came commercially available, pre-recorded videotapes and blank tapes the home user recorded workout videos onto. When playback formats went digital, we got the digital video disc (DVD). With digitalization, the personal computer became the default playback system. After the improvement of broadband speeds, large video files became more accessible through YouTube and specialized websites that can be viewed on traditional desktop computers, laptop computers and on the go on mobile phones through apps. Will the next step be an interactive Skype-based experience, a cyberspace variant of the “Physical Jerks” foreseen by George Orwell in his novel, 1984, when the protagonist Winston Smith has a flashback to his childhood and a reprimand by a physical education instructor via telescreen for not performing his exercises correctly? Will you just turn your webcam into a portal to connect with a trainer or accredited instructor and do away with videos altogether? Hopefully that thought doesn’t make you sweat with fear. We may be seeing a shade of this trend with the popularity of video gaming consoles that feature workout video games in their libraries. Whatever the future may bring in ways to show you the correct techniques for your exercise regime and however you may feel about workout videos—informative and educational or cheesy entertainment—remember to keep your fitness goals in focus, be safe and have fun too!
We provide entertaining workout videos for women and men of all skill levels. Our workouts are best way to enjoy a healthy mind and a body. To know about top advantages of exercises, you may visit About.com.
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