If your dream of being fit and strong has climbed its way to the top of your new year’s resolution list, keep these fitness trends on your radar. They are bound to rule your sweat life in 2019.
Wearable devices have made a comeback as the top fitness trend for 2019 on an annual global survey by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) – and unsurprisingly so with the burgeoning demand (and supply) for smartwatches and activity trackers to suit various lifestyles. The everyday fitness tracker, such as the Fitbit Charge 3, gives you instant updates on the distance you have run, calories burnt and maximum heart rate hit during your workouts. With most waterproof and equipped with sleep tracking elements, it’s almost unnecessary to take them off your wrist (except to charge).
Others, such as the multi-sport Garmin’s Fenix 5 Plus series, boast a pulse ox sensor for blood oxygen saturation awareness and built-in routable topographical maps – a useful feature for the quintessential outdoor adventurer. Expanding beyond wrist-based wearables, wireless earphones, such as the Soul Run Free Pro Bio, even sport a built-in AI coach that gives you live feedback to correct your gait as you run.
From barre and pilates, to spinning and circuit training, group exercises classes span a wide variety with sessions catering to different fitness levels. Compared to one-on-one personal training where there’s undivided attention, exercising in a group of five or more students is far less intimidating. In fact, it can be a real motivation booster when you’re up against a little friendly competition. Plus, having a trained instructor correct your form and encourage you to push past your limits will only do you good in the long run.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by a short period of rest. It gives busy folks an effective full-body workout in a short amount of time. Besides a circuit training-style that can be done in your living room, many gyms and studios have fused also it with workouts like boxing and yoga. However, high-intensity doesn’t necessarily mean high-impact either. Those with joint issues can try this low-impact HIIT workout comprising a variety of 13 exercises to keep you hooked.
Utilising our bodyweight remains an effective and inexpensive way to work out and its popularity in gyms only heightened in recent years. From push-ups and pull-ups, to squats and burpees, these no-equipment exercises can be done anywhere and require little space. Plus, they are scalable and allow you to hit every muscle group while training your balance and flexibility. Not sure where to begin? Try these:
The ever-increasing number of yoga studios sprouting out all over the island is a testament to its unwavering popularity. Besides improving your flexibility, practising yoga is a great way to boost your balancing skills and build muscle strength while you strike a pose. It’s not just a workout for your body, but your mind as well. Short meditation sessions and guided breathing exercises are often introduced to slow down your thoughts to promote mindfulness. On top of a variety of forms such as power yoga, yogalates, aerial yoga, hot yoga, newfangled types like beer yoga – where you sip on a bottle of ice-cold beer between poses – are constantly being introduced.
With personal training, a certified trainer works one-on-one with a client to design workouts specific to his or her individual needs and goals for quicker results. While bigger outfits like Pure Fitness and Fitness First have their own pool of in-house personal trainers, there are also gyms dedicated to personal training. These include Ultimate Performace, Gold’s Gym and Ufit – each with a team of qualified trainers ready to whip you into shape.
Functional fitness training
Originally used by physical therapists for patients undergoing post-surgery or post-injury rehabilitation, functional training mimics movements we make doing everyday tasks – climbing the stairs or lifting a bag of groceries, for example.
Doing squats trains your balance skills, as well as the muscles used when you rise up from a chair or sit down, while a multi-directional lunge works the same muscles used when you vacuum the various corners of your home.
Fitness programmes for older adults
Catering to the fitness needs of the baby boom generation, these programmes are becoming more relevant as we live, work and remain healthy and active much longer. Health Promotion Board’s Sundays@The Park fitness programme, for instance, includes high-energy workout sessions such as zumba and kickboxing, which are fit for all ages. For the elderly, Aspire55, a clubhouse in Commonwealth, houses senior-friendly gym equipment that uses an air pressure system that is gentler on the joints and muscles, complete with fitness trainers who act as their coaches. Activities like dragon boating and aerial obstacle courses are also organised.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2018, with the headline ‘Top 10 fitness trends in 2019’. Additional reporting by Peh Yi Wen.