Gone are the days of Jazzercize (although Zumba is here to stay), Thighmasters, VHS workout tapes and Tae Bo (You might have to google some of those 80s fitness fads if you haven’t’ heard of them, by the way). Here are some of the latest fitness trends which have caught the fancy of everyone from the millennial to the working mum to even those in the field of competitive sport or bodybuilding. And don’t worry, none of these involves ingesting huge amounts of protein powder or any of those god-awful supplements or diet pills:
- Mobile Exercise Apps- This is by far the most popular of fitness trends and has led to the emergence of various online workout videos and apps. Since most people don’t have time on their hands to hit the gym, thus skipping our workout time and since these apps and videos are easy to access either via tv, mobile or computer/laptop, less time consuming, more user friendly and affordable (some are even free), people prefer to ‘hit these apps’ rather than hit the gym. Such apps and videos cater to the young and old, to working parents and single mums and dads who can never find child care in time to make it to even a spin class. Such apps also save time and are less stressful and can help in staying fit in the privacy of one’s home. They offer everything from indoor to outdoor running, cycling, yoga, strength training and HIIT classes (about which you’ll learn further along in this list).
Here are some amazing health and fitness apps which you may be interested in trying out:
- NEOU: This app is similar to Peloton- a popular streaming on demand workout class app which allows you to ‘attend’ everything from spin classes to follow along stretching and offers a wide range of classes and various filter options which allow you to choose the equipment you’ve on hand or even no equipment. The duration of the classes- whether Pilates or kickboxing- lasts 5 to 45 minutes and sometimes even longer if you wish.
- Calm: This app’s main focus is on meditation and it is useful especially for beginners who wish to learn the basics of the art of meditation. Users start off with the ‘7 days of Calm’ series and move on from there. There are also guided meditations based on the specific needs of the user, such as reducing anxiety or even creating more forgiveness in your life. The Premium version is available at $3.33 per month and offers even more guided meditation and comprehensive programs that last 1-3 weeks.
- Sleep Cycle: This app majorly helps in improving your sleep by tracking your sleep cycle throughout the night via sound and movement analysis. Users can use the ‘wake up phase’ and set an alarm for whenever they please and the app wakes the users when they’re in their lightest sleep. This app helps in minimising grogginess, exhaustion and the overall ‘ugh’ feeling one gets after often spending a sleepless night and then waking up o the wrong side of the bed. It is also a boon for insomniacs.
- My Fitness Pal: This app has a database of more than 5 million foods, barcode nutrition scanner and a recipe importer for all your dietary requirements. It also tracks food intake and has an inbuilt calorie intake monitor to help balance calories daily.
- Strava: This one’s for competitive runners and cyclists and can be hooked up to your Garmin smartwatch (more on the smartwatch later in the list). It puts heavy emphasis on performance analytics and even allows users to compete with other athletes in the area.
- Map my run: Helps in finding the best running routes and one can choose a route closest to them via its extensive database. Makes every runners’ job easier.
- Wearable tech: Like an electronic finger on your pulse, wearable technology is like a sidekick which’ll keep you company on your journey to get fit and stay fit. It does everything for you from measuring/tracking your heart rate, vitals, quality of life, sleep and step count. It even allows you to set goals according to your exercising needs. One of the benefits according to iFit Trainer, Mecayla Frerer is that ‘it takes the guessing out of the equation and helps you see the data that is relevant especially to you.’ To Lindsay Corak, group training coordinator with Life Time, wearable tech are ‘tools that help keep you motivated and on track for bigger achievements and also make sure that you’re training efficiently by allowing you to track metrics and smaller achievements.’ Wearable tech ranges from smartwatches, fitness trackers to heart rate monitors, smart bracelets/activity bands, running watches and even GPS devices. The top brands in wearable tech which are preferred nowadays include Huawei, Fitbit, Garmin, Amazfit Blip and Samsung Galaxy Fit e and many of them are affordable, come with a heart track monitor, hook up to your Android/iOS devices and are waterproof with a battery life that lasts 1 month to even a year.
- Group training: In this type of training, personal trainers/instructors lead group exercise classes where groups of people work out with one another. The goal behind this is to make workout safe and efficient, as well as effective and motivational. It also helps us to connect with like minded people and gives us a sense of community. Group training classes range from boot camp style and indoor cycling to dance-based or cardio classes.
- HIIT: Short for High-Intensity Interval Training, this effective and efficient workout can be done in as little as 20 minutes and can even be done in the privacy of one’s own home. Such training involves bouts of high-intensity exercise alternated with short rest periods to maximise calorie burn and cardiorespiratory fitness in half the time of slow steady state cardio. There’s even a simple 24-minute Cardio HIIT workout for the homebody who chooses the living room at home over the gym and it includes 40-45 minutes of Butt kicks, jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers, alternating side lunges, 20 seconds of forearm planks and plank jacks, while resting for a minute in between each exercise.
That’s all for now, but stay fit and in good health, dear reader!