Americans may have grown flabbier, but many of them have known the value of exercise since 1981, when TIME put the FITNESS CRAZE on the cover.
As recently as 20 years ago for most people, the body was hardly more than an interesting mass somewhere down there below the head. It could be barricaded in gray flannel and wantonly pleased in steak houses and French restaurants. If the body belonged to Clint Eastwood or Sophia Loren, it was interesting. Otherwise, except in bed, it was ignored by the public in favor of more important pursuits like winning the space race or building the New Society ... [The fitness obsession] seized folks overnight, and the sport of mass running had begun. Suburbanites jogged like herds of oestrous gazelles down side streets. Marriages were threatened when one spouse trained for a marathon and never arrived home for an evening meal. Dinner itself became a lean affair of crudités and boiled fish. Executives could be seen pumping iron like buttoned-down Schwarzeneggers. -TIME, Nov. 2, 1981
Read the entire article at time.com/years