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05/08/2014 10:44 am ET Updated May 08, 2014

Boomers And The Fitness Revolution

Anthony Suau via Getty Images

The truth is that we started out so strong. Flipping a Frisbee, pumping iron or feeling the burn, most of the 76 million boomers were poster children for health and fitness. Physical perfection was possible — what else could explain a single generation producing Bo Derek and Brad Pitt?

"Baby boomers led an unprecedented fitness revolution, into a kind of golden era of health," says Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., whose 1968 best-selling Aerobics put modern exercise on the map. In 1968, less than 24 percent of American adults exercised regularly; by 1984, that figure had risen to 59 percent.

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