The Fitness League History

In 1930 Mary Bagot Stack created the Women’s League of Health & Beauty. Her vision was of “a league of women who will renew their energy in themselves and for themselves day by day”. She believed completely in the power of women to make the world a better place to live in.

Her work started in London where in 1925 she opened her Bagot Stack Health School.  By 1930 she had trained enough enthusiastic young teachers to help her launch her ‘Women’s League’ which enjoyed immediate and outstanding success - the growth was spectacular.  Mary Bagot Stack was a total inspiration and her ‘health training’ classes combined exactly the right mixture of hard work and fun so that after only 7 years since its inception 166,000 women had joined the League.

Mary Bagot Stack died in 1935 at the age of 50.  That her movement has survived more than 70 years beyond her death is testament not only to the devotion that she inspired in her daughter Prunella and friends Peggy and Joan St.Lo who carried on her work, but to the true and lasting value of the idea itself.

The outbreak of the Second World War arrested the League’s startling expansion as many teachers and members responded to the call to National Service. Peggy and Joan St.Lo carried on the administration in London, while 50 centres across the country were kept going by teachers who also ran special classes, raised funds and organised entertainments for factory, civil defence, nurses and service personnel.  

After the war there was an increase in the number of teachers and members as classes and the Bagot Stack Health College re-opened, but the extraordinary growth seen in the pre-war years was never to be repeated.  The two year full time teacher training course was replaced in 1969 by a part-time training course.     

The continuing popularity of Mary Bagot Stack’s ‘League’ rests in the fact that its exercise principles are based on the structure of the human body which never changes. Her recipe for classes - hard work, good fun, sociable – has a lasting appeal for the thousands who have enjoyed high levels of fitness for the greater part of their lives.

If you would like to read more about the League's history, click here.


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Welcome to The Fitness League

It’s a very exciting time for the Exercise, Movement and Dance (EMD) world! With so many fantastic activities happening, we hope to inspire the whole nation to be fitter and healthier. With our debut tie-ups with the Daily Telegraph and Women’s Institute we’re looking forward to engaging with 20,000 participants as part of the Exercise, Move, Dance Campaign.

The Fitness League and wider EMD team are building stronger bonds with partners to ensure we reach the most important people…you! We want to have as many people as possible reaping the physical, psychological and social benefits EMD brings. We are sure you will love the Fitness League. Search for a local class here.

Be one of 20,000 new Movers and Shakers to ‘Join the Movement’, discover a new passion, see yourself transform and encourage your friends to get moving too. There are so many brilliant things coming your way so be sure to keep an eye on the #JoinTheMovement and #MoverandShaker hashtags on twitter for immediate updates and prize draws.

If you have been given a promotional code i.e WIOffer2014 then don’t forget to use it to get your first EMD class for free.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.



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