18 Of Madonna’s Most Iconic Exercise ’Fits From The ’80s & ’90s Leave a comment

I know we’re all supposed to have spent the past year doing HIIT workouts in the great outdoors, but sometimes just the thought of doing burpees in a public park is enough to make many of us want to draw the curtains and rewatch both seasons of Succession for the third time.

We’ve embraced socially distanced picnics, dog walks with other people’s lockdown puppies and sunbathing in our urban green spaces, but what if the desire to undertake a full-body workout in a park has eluded you? (I’m with you). Sure, we have the indoor route, which involves shifting all the living room furniture to have enough space for a daily side-plank and (in my case, a handful of feeble) crunches.

“If you feel like you need a full-body MOT, you’re not alone,” a Vogue colleague wrote earlier this week. “Experiencing re-entry anxiety? Feeling unusually sluggish? Nutritional therapist Amelia Freer shares six ways to instantly feel revitalised as we head towards the end of lockdown.” I was feeling sluggish, but it wasn’t all that unusual. Reading on, it seemed reassuringly straightforward. There was the part about not underestimating the power of sleep, which we can get behind. I made a mental note about which nutrient-rich face mask I could smother on for “a spa-worthy glow” and then got to the part about working out.

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The solution is, naturally, to go back to the gym, right? But, hold on. If you’re reading this from a location where it’s legal to return to indoor exercise studios, chances are you’re familiar with the bunfight involved in trying to get a spot in a class right now – even if you’ve liked every single one of your favourite instructor’s IG posts since March 2020.

As I sit here, hunched over my keyboard, contemplating setting another crack-of-dawn alarm to enter the gym-booking portal the second it goes live, the whole working-out-in-public-spaces thing I’ve been avoiding for the past 12 months is beginning to look like the less stressful option for a seasonal ‘MOT’. We can do it. We just need a park workout muse – someone who exemplifies the health benefits of getting fit in the wild, while maintaining a semblance of privacy. Someone like Madonna.

When it comes to embracing the wellness perks of al fresco exercise, few can surpass Madonna during the late ’80s and early ’90s. The superstar (often accompanied by personal trainer Robert Parr) would frequently switch hotel treadmills for the banks of the River Seine and the concourse of Buckingham Palace. It looks scenic, of course, but also chic.

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The Queen of Pop’s workout uniform wrote the manual on how to incorporate throwback athletic pieces into an elevated everyday ’fit, replete with inspiration for a park fitness look that will take you from power walk to outdoor power lunch. She’s also an expert on making exercising outdoors feel a little more private. Enter the crisp Asics baseball cap and roomy nylon tracksuit – note the trainers are fastened with zinging, traffic-safe neon laces. This is practical sportswear, only more groomed.

Elsewhere there are regal styling cues we can definitely get behind. On drizzly days, Madonna knotted the hood of her Reebok windbreaker under her chin before adding an LA Raiders cap to effortlessly imposing effect. Long before spinning was a boutique exercise phenomenon, she was racing up the cycle lane in geometric bike shorts, a polished navy sweater, Ray-Ban Wayfarers and an optic-white headband (synced with white aerobics socks). Then we have my personal favourite: the patchwork bucket hat and skater T-shirt she sported on the streets of LA, fresh from Jane Fonda’s Workout studio (a seemingly rare indoor session). It’s time to download the Nike Training Club app, isn’t it?

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