AEROBICS Times have changed since Fonda's video
Gone are the once popular leg warmers.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Remember leg warmers?
There was a time when no one could take an aerobic dance class without those little wooly tubes around their ankles and calves.
"Jane Fonda with that striped leotard and the leg warmers -- that's what everybody was wearing," recalled Kathie Davis, once a dance class leader and now a fitness trade group executive. "The outfits were great."
A lot has changed since "Jane Fonda's Workout" video captured the aerobic dance style in 1982. And losing the leg warmers is only part of it.
Like many of its participants, the movement has matured. While it still works hard at keeping young, it realizes it has to age gracefully.
Some 24.3 million people took aerobic exercise classes last year, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, which tracks exercise trends.
It's a big leap from 1969, when Jacki Sorensen's "Aerobic Dance" and Judi Sheppard Missett's "Jazzercise" were getting the movement started.
"The first class, I had 15 people," Missett said. "Now, we have 19,000 classes per week, and the average class size is 35 to 50."
Dance class days
Missett said her jazz dance-based program attracted former dancers "who were looking to have fun -- to remember the days when they used to go to dance class."
Dance was just about all women could do before the federal gender equity requirements known as Title IX cracked open the doors to high school and college athletics in 1972.
Women who were entering aerobic dance classes in their 20s, 30s and 40s "were never on a sports team, and a lot were never good at physical education," Davis said.
But women knew how to dance because, growing up in the 1950s and '60s, everybody danced, said Gin Miller, who founded the "Step Aerobics" method.
Aerobic dance was their open door, Davis said: "The last ones picked on the teams were, for the first time, discovering that exercise can actually be fun."
It was even empowering.
"This was a sort of physical right that became part of the women's movement," Miller said.