Innovations in the science behind fitness is changing the way we approach exercise. Activities that were once considered effective methods of burning calories or building strength, like running or weightlifting, have been replaced by something else entirely.
A few years ago Zumba became the latest fad to sweep the nation, but the hype surrounding the Colombian dance fitness craze has since diminished. 2015 has seen a rise in high intensity interval training (HIIT) where the focus is put on short, intense bursts of exercise. This is considered the most beneficial method of losing fat and creating lean muscle.
2016 is likely to see further integration of technology and the incorporation of exercise into everyday life. Here are our predictions on what will become the biggest exercise game changers of 2016:
1 - Wearable Technology
In its annual fitness trend forecast, the American College of Sports Medicine have predicted that wearable technology will be the top fitness trend for 2016. We agree and can also see huge merging of the fashion, technology and sports industries on the horizon.
Wearable technology incorporates monitoring and tracking devices into fashion accessories. Some can track the distance a user travels, some can count calories and others set goals. The Apple Watch has a number of health features including an app that tells you how many minutes of exercise you have completed and how often you take a break from sitting down.
Alternatively the Fitbit Charge is a smartwatch that allows you to record workouts, view progress graphs, log food diaries and set sleep goals. All of this information is stored as data within a corresponding smartphone app so that you can monitor how you well you’re doing.
2 - E-Bike Cycling
Signs in 2015 point to electric bikes gaining popularity in the UK, namely the government’s planned introduction of 234 new electric bikes to the public.
The first e-bikes were looked down upon by cycling enthusiasts for being too bulky and unnecessary. The development of lighter batteries and smaller motors has seen their popularity rise and the e-bike has become the fastest growing product on the cycling market.
Questions have been raised over the health benefits of e-cycling. Whilst it does demand less strain from the rider, Eco Expedition Electric Bikes point out that using it for longer periods of time results in a great workout. As opposed to a normal bicycle, you don’t have to be in top physical condition to use an electric bike making it accessible to those wanting to jump start their fitness.
3 - Surfing
Surf fever is set to sweep the nation in 2016. Newquay has long been known as surfing capital of the UK. While it can throw up some mighty swells, it doesn’t quite boast the tropical surf of Hawaii or Bondi Beach.
British surfing is expected to hit those heights in Spring 2016 with the opening of Surf Snowdonia, an inland surfing destination with cutting edge wave technology. The revolutionary surf lagoon will be the size of six football pitches and will be set in the Conwy Valley of the Snowdonia mountains. Wavegarden have manufactured the system that will generate ideal surfing conditions with 1.9m high tubing waves that peel for 200m.
We also wouldn’t be surprised to see mechanical surfboards in gyms in 2016. This type of workout focuses on using your core to keep your balance while following the instructor through a series of exercises such as squats and jumps.
4 - Fitness programmes for older adults
It has been well documented that the UK has an ageing population. According to the Office for National Statistics, 29.5% of the population will be over the age of 60 by 2039, with one in 12 over the age of 80. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, many health and fitness professionals are creating age-appropriate programmes to keep older adults active.
Researchers have found that regular exercise in old age can expand life expectancy by up to five years. The analysis of 5,700 elderly men showed those doing three hours of exercise a week lived for an average five years longer than the sedentary.
5 – Cardio Tennis
Several workouts inspired by a particular sport or discipline have already become commonplace in gyms across the country, Ballet Be Fit and Spinning Classes to name two. The latest to follow the trend is Cardio Tennis.
Cardio Tennis is designed to be a workout in which tennis based exercises are performed to uptempo music. You can expect to burn more calories than if you were playing a regular game of tennis and offers a sociable and fun workout on the tennis court. Cardio Tennis is for anyone who wants to get fit and have a go at tennis regardless of ability.