So what’s been going on in the world of fitness this year I hear you ask? Quite a lot as it turns out. Let’s have a look at the facts.
Body Weight Training
We’ve seen cycles in all sorts of industries. For instance, the food industry did everything it could to take the natural out of food. Now it’s doing everything it can to put the natural back into food. (Think Whole Foods). Now we see the return of old-school body weight exercises. It’s all being driven by a desire in the fitness community for a symmetrical, athletic appearance. And it’s also being driven by a desire to develop real, functional strength.
What counts as a body weight exercise? Push-ups, pull-ups, pistol squats, lunges, and split squats to mention a few.
Corporate responsibility has come on in leaps and bounds over the last decade or so. And now companies are looking to up the ante when it comes to health at work. Worksite health and fitness has been a big trend this year. Companies have been giving employees gym memberships and even fitness classes on site.
We’ve also seen the rise of employee cycle-to-work and multi bicycle insurance schemes. In the UK and elsewhere, employees can get bikes and accessories tax-free. And this is proving to be a huge boon to workplace health.
We’ve already talked about the movement towards functional strength. Now there’s a movement towards functional fitness too. Functional fitness is different to functional strength. It’s not just about improving contractile strength. It’s also about helping people, especially older people, reclaim their bodies. Functional fitness helps the elderly with their mobility, allowing them to do the things they did when they were younger.
We’ve seen a significant rise in so-called wellness coaching in 2016. Wellness coaching is different to personal training. It’s about taking a holistic attitude to one’s own fitness and seeing it in the context of life in general. Wellness is more than just the routine at the gym. That’s the tip of the iceberg. There’re all sorts of other factors that come into play, submerged in the water. Wellness coaches are being hired to help people with sleep patterns, nutrition and stress management.
The trends we have discussed so far have all been newsworthy. But by far the biggest trend has been the migration toward wearables. Wearable trackers have found themselves into practically every aspect of fitness. Obviously, there’s Fitbit for the gym and the park. But there are also trackers with far more esoteric applications.
Take the Woo Sports Kiteboard tracker. This is a piece of kit that kitesurfers can attach to their bodies that tracks the height of their jumps. The device can then transmit data from their experience to an app on their phone. The app then tells them how high they jumped and how far they went.
There are also wearables that track more than just your heart rate. At this year’s CES, wearables manufacturers introduced prototypes to measure blood sugar and calories.