When gyms were forced to close last year, many of us turned to online workouts, or laced up our trainers and headed out into the great outdoors in order to stay fit. Sales of home gym equipment also soared by more than 5,500 percent during the pandemic according to price comparison site Idealo, with exercise enthusiasts making space for their Peloton bikes and TRX straps, while others kept their mental fitness in shape through the likes of yoga and meditation. So, with front-room fitness and stress-management moves taking centre stage in 2021, what trends will be reeling us in next? H&W has the forecast for the year ahead.
1. Intimate settings
According to fitness industry experts Team Up, one result of spending last year exercising from home is that, going forward, people will be opting for more boutique-style fitness studios – smaller, more intimate spaces where they can create their own bespoke training programme rather than joining in with huge exercise classes and dozens of other participants. Smaller personal trainer sessions of between two and 10 people will also be hot news, with instructors being able to give us more individual attention, while making it easier to maintain social distancing.
2. Wild workouts
After being stuck inside for so many months, we were keen to get outside and exercise in the fresh air this year – a trend that’s set to continue. In fact, it’s likely to go one step further, with more and more personal trainers taking clients out of the gym and into the wild to get fit. Not only does it give us more room to move, but being outside helps to raise our endorphin levels and gives us a boost of the sunshine vitamin. And, if you can get to green spaces such as woodlands and parks, even better, as these spaces have been shown to lower anxiety and depression according to researchers at the University of Rochester, who found that exposure to nature led to an improved sense of community and connectedness with others.
3. Mental health mash-up
Much has been said about our mental health in recent years, and never more so than during the pandemic when it became more important than ever before to pay attention to our minds, as well as our bodies. As a result, fitness centres are set to focus just as much on mental health as physical health, creating communities and providing us with more support in our day-to-day lives, including the addition of physiotherapists, counsellors and nutritionists working together to offer their services. Yoga and mindfulness apps will also see a surge in popularity as gym-goers look to keep things interesting and mix it up.
4. Hybrid is all the rage
While some have been glad to get back to exercising at the gym and in classes, many have chosen to continue varying their home workouts alongside gym work, as it fits in with their busy daily lives. In fact, research by fitness experts at Les Mills have revealed that 80 percent of gym members are planning to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic on top of their workouts at the gym. Also known as ‘omnichannel fitness’, this provides a wider scope for trying different classes by mixing online sessions, home weight workouts and in-person gym classes, as well as providing more flexibility.
5. Under the influencers
We’ve all become so used to working out on our own that the demand for different types of workouts we can do from the living room will continue to grow. Rather than just offering one class, workout apps from fitness influencers such as The Body Coach and Davina McCall had us glued to our screens, as they gave us access to qualified professionals at an affordable price. Why are they so appealing? Well, not only do they give us the chance to track our progress by logging previous sessions and choosing workouts at increasingly challenging levels, they also provide complete flexibility as the workout can be done wherever and whenever you like.
6. Pump it up
When press ups and squats became home-based activities rather than gym-only, we had to adapt to the space we had available, and for many, body-weight training – resistance training without any equipment – became the best option. As a result, body-weight workouts saw a huge surge in popularity during the pandemic, and this looks set to continue well into 2022. The best part is, that you don’t need to fork out for expensive kettlebells or cardio machines and there are plenty of classes online to follow if you need qualified guidance.
7. Short but sweet
With normal life resuming, people are busier than ever, which means that 30-minute classes or less will be the go-tos for working parents and those with a busy social schedule. Short, efficient workouts, such as HIIT and Tabata workouts are perfect for hooking onto a hectic day when you feel like getting a sweat on, and these will become more popular than ever into 2022.
8. Tech savvy
While Fitbits, Garmins and Apple watches aren’t anything new, they’ve long been a luxury item for fitness fanatics. Now, though, they’re casting their net wider and providing wearables for the everyday-exerciser, which makes it easier to track your own fitness. Tech companies are also getting more sophisticated with their features, as some can measure everything from sleep to blood oxygen levels and even have ECG monitors to warn us if our heart is at risk. The Garmin Vivo Smart 4, for example, tracks heart and oxygen saturation levels which can act as an early warning system for heart problems.
9. Dog days
It’s a bit of a curve-ball, but it’s set to become big news. So many people bought dogs during lockdown – around 3.2 million UK households according to the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association – but it’s only now that they’re realising that exercising with your dog can be really motivating, as well as great fun. In a nutshell, Canicross is running with your dog, and all you need is a harness and stretchy lead. It’s great for improving cardiovascular fitness, bone and joint strength, improving sleep and boosting mental wellbeing. Find out more and get started at dogfit.co.uk.