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The Fitness Revolution. Historical Transformations in the Global Gym and Fitness Culture

Jesper Andreasson
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Sport Science, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
  • Linnaeus University, Department of Sport Science, 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
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/ Thomas Johansson
Published Online: 2014-09-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/ssr-2014-0006


Today, fitness gyms and private health clubs are a huge global business. Fitness has turned into a folk movement, but not one comparable to the old 20th-century movements, often connected to national sentiments, but instead a highly individualized preoccupation. In this article the historical development of modern gym and fitness culture is described and an analytically developed approach to the understanding of the emergence of this multi-billion-dollar phenomenon is developed. The analysis suggest that the techniques, tools, and physical exercises used today in gyms all over the world are the results of a physical culture developed and refined during the 20th century. The body ideals, exercises, techniques, and the pedagogy of fitness have become an increasingly international enterprise. A tentative analysis of the globalization of gym and fitness culture is developed and presented. Three important and decisive phases in the globalization of gym and fitness culture are identified and analyzed.

Keywords: fitness culture; history; body; globalization


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-09-19

Published in Print: 2014-08-01

Citation Information: Sport Science Review, Volume 23, Issue 3-4, Pages 91–111, ISSN (Online) 2069-7244, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/ssr-2014-0006.

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© by Jesper Andreasson. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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