Fallout from the pandemic redefined the fitness industry in 2020, sparking unprecedented growth in digital fitness channels in response to gym closures and stay-at-home orders. As we move through 2021, with restrictions easing as we slowly return to normality, we look at eight rising fitness trends.
1. Hybrid Fitness
Hybrid fitness businesses provide both onsite and online services to enable members to participate in training both in person and virtually. For many fitness facilities, moving operations online represented their best chance of survival in 2020. Today, hybrid fitness enables users to benefit from the best of both real and virtual worlds.
Providing online classes enables fitness enthusiasts to squeeze in a quick class or lunchtime workout, making training much more accessible. Businesses with no digital offerings pre-pandemic have been forced to evolve, developing digital solutions, realizing considerable opportunities for growth in the process.
2. Fitness Technology
Wearables and other fitness technology saw unprecedented increases in demand throughout 2020. Experts predict that fitness tech will continue to be a lynchpin of the fitness industry as consumers seek out fully connected experiences, with health clubs scrambling to develop digital solutions to meet customer demands.
Fitness trackers and wearable technology have become essential items for health enthusiasts, not just counting steps and calories, but analyzing data to provide critical insights. Experts predict that Garmin and Apple wearables will continue to gain traction throughout 2021, attracting a full spectrum of consumers, from the weekend walker to the triathlete.
3. High Intensity Interval Training
Over the past few years, high intensity interval training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular, providing a fast, effective weight loss solution that simultaneously builds lean muscle mass. As Brodie Hicks, AIF Master Coach explains, HIIT enables fitness enthusiasts to reach their goals in the gym or at home, with or without equipment, via simple programming. This makes HIIT very appealing to the masses.
4. Active Video Games
Realizing the immense popularity of fitness apps and technology, video games manufacturers have been keen to jump on the bandwagon, incorporating fitness and body movement into games. Participants can play alone, with friends, or compete against strangers online in an appealing, fun workout.
Current offerings include Nintendo Ring Fit, an interactive game for the Switch console incorporating an exercise wheel. Users hold the wheel in front of them, following on-screen movements for a taxing full body workout. Also popular is Just Dance 2021, the time-honored game that promotes fitness through dance.
5. Home Gyms
According to a 2020 poll published by OnePoll, 75 percent of respondents agreed that it is easier to stay fit at home. Since the pandemic started, 64 percent of participants reported that they had become more interested in-home fitness than ever before. With many people coming to realize the advantages of working out at home, dedicating living space and funds to creating home gyms, it is anticipated that many will stick with highly accessible, affordable home workouts.
6. Remote Personal Training
For many, one-to-one personal training was off the cards in 2020, forcing personal trainers to move their classes online. In the UK, fitness coach Joe Wicks inspired families across the nation to become active during lockdown, live-streaming free daily workout routines that were viewed by millions. This resulted in his being made a Member of the British Empire in the Queen’s birthday honors list.
Today, personal trainers all over the world continue to offer remote training programs. This enables participants to work towards their weight and fitness goals from the comfort and convenience of their own homes.
7. Eye Yoga
The pandemic sparked a global transition to remote working practices, and with it, an unprecedented level of reliance on digital technology. As a consequence, many of us have spent increasing amounts of time in front of screens, in many cases, exceeding recommended screen time limits.
According to one College of Optometrists survey, 1 in 5 respondents admitted that their sight had deteriorated during lockdown, with 1 in 3 blaming excessive screen time. Eye yoga incorporates a variety of eye exercises and gentle massage movements.
FaceGym offers one-to-one virtual workouts to tackle head, neck, jaw, and eye tension. FaceGym’s founder Inge Theron points out that eye yoga has actually been around for some time, but really only came to the fore in 2021, recommending the practice to reduce muscle tension around the eyes.
8. Outdoor Fitness
After having their movements curtailed for months on end, many people have developed a new appreciation of what epitomizes freedom: the ability to run and roam in the great outdoors.
From jogging, to cycling, to wild swimming, people are keen to surround themselves in nature in 2021, breathing in the fresh air, and immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of nature. Research suggests that just 20 minutes spent outdoors per day improves one’s mood considerably, lowering stress hormones and boosting self-esteem, according to a study conducted by Nature in 2019.