The fitness industry is anything but boring. It never seems to run out of the latest fitness and workout trends to keep eager enthusiasts like us on our toes.
In the past few years, for instance, changing health behaviours pushed the rise of at-home training and digital fitness options. People no longer limit their fitness goals to weight loss and bodybuilding. And most now work out for better immunity and internal health.
I think summarising these latest workout programs would be interesting.
Hopefully, this list of what’s hot and trending motivates you to refresh an old routine or try something new.
1. Online Workout Sessions
Lockdowns due to the global pandemic forced commercial gyms to stop operation.
But it also introduced gym members to a safer, more convenient alternative: online fitness training.
More people turned to instructional fitness videos online and started training at home.
Even old fitness trends, like the 12-3-30 treadmill workout, became viral through social media.
Soon, gym operators responded to the demand.
And now, several gyms and fitness centres are offering hybrid memberships so members can do online and in-person training.
Aside from program flexibility, online workouts paved the way for more customisable gym membership costs.
With these many positive outcomes from one setback, it won’t be a surprise if this latest fitness trend is here to stay for good.
2. Fitness AI, Apps and Wearable Technology
Science and technology have been part of the fitness world, even more so today and possibly in the future.
And tech-savvy exercisers will surely be happy with this latest fitness trend.
Since Fitbit came in 2009, we now see fitness trackers and smartwatches becoming integral in people’s health routines and monitoring.
Modern wearable devices also go beyond their tracking duties, with some models now providing tips and suggestions for better health.
Even serious weight watchers can link their progress to metrics like BMI, muscle mass and fat percentage, thanks to innovative digital scales.
And now, most exercise machines work with compatible apps, allowing users to access a real-time fitness class or an extensive workout library.
Some even have built-in features, like the NordicTrack X22i, that automatically adjust machine settings.
You can also do global workouts and exercise anywhere, minus the travel expense.
3. Exercise Gamification
But if you think bouncing on a mini trampoline is fun, gaming industry leaders thought of something even better.
Have you heard of the latest indoor rower that lets you play video games while rowing?
With this equipment, you can fight zombies or blast bugs while completing your cardio and strength training. Now that’s immersive!
Or how about doing workouts combined with virtual reality through a specialised headset?
The whole fitness gaming experience even comes with great music and breathtaking scenery.
These innovative creations probably originated from previous research finding on gamification for health.
In this study, the authors concluded that earning points or badges, unlocking content or doing quests can effectively boost workout motivation.
With so many people into video games, this latest fitness trend will surely be an instant hit.
And it won’t be long before competing brands introduce more impressive machines for gamers and gym-goers alike.
4. Mini and Low-Impact Workouts
The pandemic somehow urged sedentary or less active people to start adding exercise into their schedules.
But then, they’ll have to overcome gym anxiety, HIIT intimidation and similar issues. The solution?
Enter non-threatening fitness options, like mini workouts and low-impact exercises.
With these two latest fitness trends, there’s less pressure to exercise hard for long hours.
People now break down their 30-minute exercise requirement, for example, into two to three micro workouts.
Fitness professionals often call this exercise snacking or snack-sized sessions.
And this trend became popular partly because of recent studies that explained why frequent workouts are as good, if not better, as lengthy sessions.
Aside from mini workouts, more people are getting renewed interest in light exercises like walking.
Commercial gyms have adjusted to this fitness demand by offering beginner-friendly classes using various exercise machines.
These developments only emphasise that an active lifestyle is for everyone and that any form of exercise counts.
Do you think low-impact workouts are also for you? This LISS vs HIIT comparison article might help you decide.
5. Biophilia Training
This one sounds a bit too technical. But really, biophilia sessions only mean nature-based workouts.
This latest fitness trend came when we were too eager to go out after months of being indoors during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Suddenly, we became very appreciative of every green space, so much so that we turned it into our new-normal workout spot.
This behaviour probably explains why some homes during the pandemic turned into jungles of houseplants!
Now, more and more people are hiking, dancing or cycling outdoors. Some are also using green spaces to sit and be with nature.
Either option can effectively improve mood and reduce stress levels, hence the solid following.
And I feel that outdoor activities will continue as people now prefer safer, contact-free places for exercise.
6. Mindful Meditation
Meditative exercises like Pilates and yoga are not new.
But mindful meditation makes a comeback mainly because of the anxiety, uneasiness, and uncertainty we went through for the past few years.
Now, more people are into exercises that improve mental health and cognitive function.
As a bonus, mindfulness workouts also enhance flexibility and strength.
This latest fitness trend is possibly brought about by how fitness goals today have changed, too.
Specifically, people are now exercising for improved immunity or internal health, not just for a better physique.
And I think this mindset is an excellent motivation to keep us exercising, even after achieving our desired body weight.
7. Fitness Recovery and Wellness
The concept of self-love or self-care also became increasingly popular during the height of the pandemic.
I think this explains why more people now recognise the value of giving their selves a break, especially between workouts.
Some commercial gyms offer recovery services like saunas and ice baths, too.
There’s been considerable growth in wellness coaching as well.
Coaches would typically guide clients through a personalised wellness plan, focusing on better appearance, health, sleep and nutrition.
This holistic approach maximises the benefits of exercise for sure.
8. Functional Training
Thanks to several viral videos online, people now see the importance of exercising to protect themselves from injury and improve their physical performance.
And by physical performance, I meant functional movements that simulate everyday life activities.
These include pushing, twisting, lifting, bending and the like.
But functional fitness workouts can also include non-weight activities like plyometrics or burpees and battle rope sessions.
The use of medicine balls or resistance bands also works.
The best part about a constantly evolving fitness industry is knowing a new machine, habit or move to keep us on the healthy track.
After all, doing the same routine is not helpful for the body or our goals.
And thanks to these latest fitness trends, workout programs have become even more accessible, flexible and inclusive.
I’m sure new and current fitness enthusiasts like us will get to see and try exciting routines, machines and training approaches in the years to come.
Cost-wise, buying a treadmill is better than going to the gym. That’s because you can share the machine with others at home, and the return on investment is likely within 2 to 3 years. It’s a considerable saving in the long run, given that treadmills have an average lifespan of 10 years. Still, getting a gym membership is best if professional help, workout diversity and social interaction are essential to you.
A rowing machine targets over 80% of your muscles. Specifically, each rowing stroke is 65-75% leg work, which includes your glutes, quads and calves. It’s also a 25-35% upper body workout involving your arm, chest, upper back and core muscles. See our rowing machine guide if you are interested to learn more.
Both forms of running have their pros and cons. So, you’re better off doing a bit of both if you are fit and well. You get a perfect balance this way and gain their benefits and counter the drawbacks. But if you are rehabilitating or planning to return to running, consult a health professional first for individualised advice and guidance.
The best time to use a handheld massager depends on the benefits you want to get. For instance, percussion therapy is ideal pre-workout to improve your performance. On the other hand, you get muscle recovery benefits if you use your massage gun after training.
Pilates is a form of functional training that improves balance, stability and coordination. It also corrects your posture through controlled movements and proper form. All of these contribute to better performance of day-to-day activities, which is the goal of functional training.
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