CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Five basic exercises for fitness in 1961

The Story

In 1961, tired and listless Canadians head home after work to plop down in front of the tube. Royal Canadian Air Force to the rescue! The RCAF has developed 5BX, a set of exercises sure to give the nation twice as much energy. For years, the RCAF has used the 11-minute-a-day regime to get into shape no matter what the locale. 5BX has six levels and combines a series of strenuous exercises like running, squatting and pushups.Champion athletes use level six and housewives get an extra minute in level one. On CBC Radio, Wing Commander J.K. Tett says after two weeks you're bound to have a "pretty stiff workout."

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Aug. 16, 1961
Guest(s): Wing Commander J.K. Tett
Host: Maria Barrett, Bill McNeil
Reporter: Clel Bryant
Duration: 5:29

Did You know?

. The federal government's first fitness initiative was researched in the 1950s by the RCAF. It resulted in the 5BX program.
. The program became famous worldwide. Even Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, regularly performed the exercises.
. The intensity of the exercises varied from level one to six. In the most complicated level, a person scored an A+ for performing many repetitions of five complicated exercises and a one-mile run in 11 minutes.

. The RCAF changed its name to the Canadian Air Force in 1968.
. According to the Canadian Air Force website, the Forces no longer use 5BX. The unsupervised exercise program was later considered dangerous and became invalid with advancements in physiology.


Getting Physical: Canada's Fitness Movement more