Everything old is new again, especially when it comes to keeping in shape. So ditch that new-fangled machine at the stuffy gym and give these old-school exercises a run.


Twenties: Swing Dance

Do you long to break out the zoot suit? Then it’s time you joined Swing Patrol for one of the many swing classes they have set up throughout London. If you want to get really into it, you can choose your niche. They do workshops in Balboa, Lindy Hop and aerials (when you throw your partner into the air). 

Where: Various locations.

How much: £8 per class; £70 for 10 sessions. 


Thirties: Aqua Ballet

In the Thirties, nearly every film opened with an elaborate synchronised swimming number, usually starring Ethel Merman. The art is not dead, however, and there are several clubs in London that offer lessons in underwater dance. The Seymour Synchro Swim School is the city’s oldest, and it offers classes for all levels and ages. 

When/Where: Queen Mother’s Sports Centre, 223 Vauxhall Bridge Road, SW1V 1EL.

How much: Trial sessions from £4. Membership is £30 per month. 


Forties: Pin Up Body Workout

If you want to look like a gangster’s moll (translation: uber-fit), then the Pin Up Body Workout is for you. In truth, it’s more social call, starting with a makeover (vintage threads provided), followed by vintage exercises designed to define beautiful curves. It all culminates in afternoon tea. When you look this good, what’s an extra scone or two? 

When/Where: Sat and Sun, 11am-4.30pm. 6 Fitzroy Square, W1T 5DX.

How much: There’s a limited time offer of £35 per class (it’s usually £99). 


Sixties: Kettlebells

Popular now, but kettlebells were first the weight du jour in Soviet Russia. Back then, they were wielded around by mustachioed strong men. Today, they’re taught by clean-shaven strongmen. The simple devices are a great way to build an iron bod. Fitter London offers one-off classes to give you a taster.

When/Where: Classes run Tue-Sat. 6 Bedford St, WC2 9HD.

How much: £10 per class. 


Seventies: Roller Disco

Ah, the seedy Seventies, when short shorts and roller skates were kinky and cool. Relive it at The Renaissance Rooms’ roller disco. The music is all funk and soul, all the time. 

When/Where: Thur-Sun, 8pm-2am. Miles St, SW8 1RZ.

How much: £10-15. 



Eighties: Jane Fonda tribute 

When Olivia Newton-John begged listeners to get physical, Jane Fonda was an exercise goddess worshipped by any woman packing a VCR. Frame Shoreditch gym honours the queen of aerobics with a sweat-inducing tribute class – leopard-print leotard is a must. 

When/Where: Sun,11.30am; Tue, 6.30pm. 29 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EY.

How much: £12 to drop in or £10 with a top-up card. 



Photos: Swing Patrol; Renaissance Rooms; YouTube, facebook.com/pinupbodyworkout