The word "Aerobic" was coined in 1875, when Louis Pasteur discovered that certain "Aerobic" bacteria needed oxygen to survive. During the 1960s, an American doctor named Ken Cooper developed a series of "Aerobic exercises" designed to combat cardiovascular diseases.
In the 1970s, Cooper's methods were popularised worldwide in a series of exercise videos featuring movie star Jane Fonda. Aerobic exercise became part of a worldwide fitness trend during the 1980s, and exercise competitions featuring spandex-clad competitors performing breathtaking routines and flexing their abundant muscles gained popularity.
The seeds of Aerobic's eventual fusion with Gymnastics were sown on October 30, 1993, when affiliated federations officially asked the FIG Executive Committee to introduce Aerobic as a discipline in the FIG competition programme. The following year, at the FIG Congress in Geneva (SUI), FIG President Yuri Titov (RUS) invited delegates to accept the setup of an Aerobic Sports Commission, as well as the organisation of a World Championships in 1995.
Things took off from there. On March 14, 1995, the first Judges' and Coaches' Course in Aerobic was held in Switzerland. In December of the same year, the first FIG Aerobic World Championships were held at the Stade de Coubertin in Paris. Competitors from Brazil dominated the competition, taking three of the four event titles, and seven other nations won medals.
In 1996, the FIG officially recognised Aerobic Gymnastics as a FIG discipline and it has continued to evolve as a sport in recent years. The discipline is especially popular in Asia, where it is practiced by a number of university teams.
The strong Gymnastics schools in China, Romania and Russia have transferred over to success in Aerobic Gymnastics. Some of the sport’s most prolific champions began their careers in other Gymnastics disciplines.