fitness trend

Most of us have been fitness and health focused for January, but going into February those good intentions can start to waver. In fact, over a third of gym memberships are abandoned by the end of January! This week, I am therefore going to provide some inspiration to keep you going with a post dedicated to fitness trends for 2016.

Just to be clear, a fitness trend is not the same as a fitness ‘fad’ – a fad is a phenomenon that becomes very popular and is taken up with great enthusiasm at the beginning, but then fades away after a short time. A trend on the other hand, lasts and creates a long-term impact on the way people think, behave or in this case exercise!

Of course in order to achieve a healthy body and mind, we’ll always need to put the work in, there are no quick fixes! The winning formula for all round health and fitness is to combine cardiovascular and resistance exercise with something like yoga for the mind-body benefits. There are however, some savvy tips, gadgets and methods to help make life a little easier!

10 ways that regular exercise will improve your life!

Here’s a quick reminder of ten ways that regular exercise will improve your life if you need any extra inspo:

  • Improves mood

    Improves mood and reduces stress – nothing beats that endorphin boost after a good workout! In fact, exercise has been shown in studies to be as effective as medication for mild-moderate depression!

  • Better sleep

    Regular exercise improves sleep quality

  • More energy

    Movement creates energy!

  • Boosts your immune system

    Moderate exercise does, over-train and it has the opposite effect, so be careful!

  • Weight management

    Especially good for maintaining a healthy weight

  • Strength and muscles

    Builds strength and muscles – resistance exercise in particular

  • Diabetes & Cancer

    Reduces type 2 diabetes risk and risk of certain cancers.

  • Cardiovascular health

    Keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke

  • Joints and bones

    Keeps, joints and bones healthy and strong and improves flexibility

  • Digestion

    Great for digestion – keeps things moving!

Wearable Technology

tecnologia wearable

Wearable technology such as fitness bands and smart watches are a fantastic way to motivate yourself to keep moving – anyone who’s been reading my previous posts will know that I’m a fan. The total market for wearable tech is estimated to be worth £4 billion in 2016, making this the number one trend according to the latest American College of Sports Medicine Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends (1). They are such a great way to track your progress and also make fitting activity into a busy schedule much easier. Exercise doesn’t have to be a defined workout or exercise class, it can be something you do in shorter bursts over the day, which works well for anyone short on time. Not only do these devices track your activity levels, but they also monitor your sleep patterns, which is another much neglected area of health these days.

Any pointers?

The only drawback is that it can become a bit obsessive, checking your steps every five minutes to see how many more you’ve clocked up! I would also discourage using the calorie counting function, as for one it’s extremely laborious inputting everything you eat and secondly calorie counting is never a good idea – it’s much better to focus on the quality of your diet.

HIIT

HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT has been around for a few years now but remains a strong trend for 2016 due to its effectiveness and the fact that it can be done in a relatively short time compared with other cardiovascular workouts. It involves short bursts of exercise at maximum capacity interspersed with recovery periods of low intensity exercise. It typically takes around 20-30 minutes to achieve the same benefits that you would achieve in an hour of normal continuous exercise, so is a great time saver and perfect to squeeze in before work or in your lunch break.

Any pointers?

The high intensity means that you have to be fit and healthy, so this is not suitable for people with injuries or medical conditions. There may also be a higher risk of getting an injury when exercising at this level, so starting off in a supervised class or with a trainer is sensible until you are well practiced.

Body Weight Training

Body Weight Training

This is nothing new but has gained in popularity recently for several reasons. Body weight training simply means resistance exercise using your own body weight instead of machines or weights, so think push-ups, squats, lunges etc.

The rise in popularity is due to the fact that it gets good results but is also essentially free and can be done anywhere, anytime, such as at home or in the park.

Any pointers?

You have to be self-disciplined to exercise at home on your own, but some people can so it’s just a case of knowing yourself and your limits. Technique is important, so again I would advise at least starting off with a trainer or instructor to make sure you get this right.

Yoga

yoga

It may have been around for centuries, but yoga is still up there as a popular fitness trend for 2016. With a wealth of new styles and techniques coming out all the time, this prevents boredom and keeps it popular. As well as boosting strength and flexibility, the benefits of yoga go so much further and include stress reduction, increased happiness and wellbeing, inner peace and deep relaxation, helping you be more present and mindful, improving balance, posture, protecting the spine and chronic pain relief.

Any pointers?

None, so get that mat out!

Doing something you enjoy

your-sport

Finally, not so much a trend but common sense to keep you exercising is simply choosing something you genuinely enjoy. Whether its going for a walk or bike ride with friends or family, dancing, horse riding or playing a team sport, if you actually enjoy exercise statistics repeatedly show you are much more likely to keep it in your life long-term.

References
1) Thompson, Walter R. Ph.D., FACSM WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2016: 10th Anniversary Edition. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal 2015 19:9-18