In terms of fitness trends, tech (including apps and wearables), virtual fitness and HIIT may still top the charts, but theyre hardly new. On the other hand, the following qualify as fresh developments in the world of exercise.
1: Staying Fitand Healthy
If fitness can be said to have had a motto in 2020, it would have been safety first. And amid continued uncertainty, allowing people to exercise safely will be an ongoing concern, at least at the beginning of 2021. Virtual fitness, such as livestreamed or taped classes, is only part of that trend.
For one thing, gyms and fitness centers will have to adapt to the new normal.
As facilities reopen, itll be important to assure members that its safe to return: Increased sanitation, social distancing measures and detailed plans for keeping the space safe during reopening, says Bernhard Mehl, CEO of Kisi, a keyless access company.
Fitness safety also includes avoiding close contact during fitness classes, especially before the return of warm weather allows for group exercise outdoors. Thats particularly important given group trainings steady rise in popularity.
2: Dedicated Home Fitness Spaces
Part of the safety-forward approach: Dedicating part of ones living space to fitness (as opposed to throwing a yoga mat or a couple of free weights in a corner).
According to consultants McKinsey & Company, Americans are spending 12% more time exercising in their own abodes. So its no surprise that many fitness enthusiasts have invested more time and money into creating workout spaces at home, says Mehl.
If youve put the effort into creating your own home gym, it only stands to reason that youll want to make that investment pay off by using the space consistently which in turn feeds into the continued popularity of virtual fitness.
3: Going Beyond the Body
The difficulties many people experienced during 2020 has led to another trend. More and more people want to combine physical training with mental relaxation, according to ISPO, an international sports trade group. This desire is triggered not only by job-related stress, also by strenuous homeschooling or financial and health fears.
The mind and the body are the greatest tools we possess to achieve positive well-being, adds psychologist Joaquín Selva, BcS. It is imperative that we learn body intelligence, and use it as part of the treatment and prevention of physical and mental illness.
Yoga has always been known for tending to both mind and body. But that desire is now playing out in different ways.
Selva says that more fitness centers offer special programs that focus on mindfulness, such as breathing and meditation exercises that help to promote inner balance.
But you dont need to go to a gym to address this need. You can just lace up your sneakers: Mindful running substitutes meditative practicessuch as a focus on ones breath or surroundingsfor the usual concerns with running further and faster.
A related development views fitness as just one component in a total approach to well-being.
This trend has been driven, at least in part, by the corporate world; encouraging employees to exercise has been thought to improve productivity while holding down healthcare costs. That has led some companies to partner with gyms or other facilities in offering more comprehensive programs which incorporate more overall health coaching, such as teaching people to make healthier dietary choices.
An emphasis on wellness has also come from healthcare and fitness professionals in the form of a program called Exercise Is Medicine® (EIM).
Supported by organizations such as the American Council of Sports Medicine, the American Council of Exercise and the American Physical Therapy Association, EIM embodies the idea that fitness is an important component of treatment plans for patients suffering from a range of ailments. For example, EIM is now seen as a way for cancer survivors to not only raise their fitness levels but also improve overall functioning and help ease cancer-related fatigue.
4: Tailoring Fitness Routines to Generational Needs
Its not hard to imagine that the exercise requirements of, lets say, a 25-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman would probably be quite different. So its not surprising to learn that the world of fitness is now taking those kinds of differences into account.
That has led to a focus on Millennials (born between about 1980 to 1995), 76% of whom were found to exercise at least once a week in one survey, compared with 64% of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). Many Millennials (along with members of the following cohort, the Gen Zs) prefer group fitness classes.
But lower participation rates do not make fitness any less important for older people, especially since age tends to bring losses in bone and muscle mass.
In fact, the ISPO calls seniors a core target group that must be wooed with special offers and training opportunities. This can range from individual training or workouts in small training groups to digital offers for risk-free training at home.
5: Working Out On Water with GlideFit
Looking for the next hot specialized workout? Then trade in your shorts and tees for a bathing suit and jump into GlideFit.
In Glide, the form of exerciseanything from HIIT to yogaisnt as important as where: Atop a large, squared-off paddleboard specially designed for fitness activities.
The idea behind GlideFit is called ABST, or aquatic-based stability training. Exercising on the waters surfaceas opposed to being inthe waterworks more muscles while also sharpening reflexes, coordination and body awareness.
ABST allows for a routine that is both high intensity and low impact, making it perfect for older fitness enthusiasts or those with joint problems.
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