Future Fit: Four Of The Biggest Shifts In Fitness
The purpose of exercise and fitness has always been to maintain both physiological and psychological wellbeing. Although this hasn’t changed, the more scientific advances we make in understanding how our bodies work, the more we recognize the aspects to exercise that can help us to achieve optimal health.
What shifts are we seeing?
Here are four of the biggest shifts in fitness:
Intimate group workouts
The demand for individualized exercise is growing, but so is the demand for group workouts.
“It’s still all about enjoyment and engagement with people,” says Prof Ross Tucker, sports scientist at Virgin Active South Africa. “So, there has been a subtle shift in the size of group classes, and the development of smaller specialist studios, as well as niche exercise offerings.”
Many non-traditional group exercise formats are also emerging. The options are plenty, giving you the opportunity to find a workout class that fits into your style of living. Small training gatherings also make the use of a personal trainer more affordable, while still allowing for that bit of personal attention.
DNA testing for optimal health
Understanding your own genetic make-up by doing a personalized genetic test is one of the most accurate and technologically advanced ways to reach your fitness goals or simply improve your health.
DNA testing gives you a customized breakdown of exactly what exercises will help you to successfully build strength, increase endurance and aid recovery. It also shows you which macro and micronutrients you need to reinforce the process. Although your genetics play an essential role in your health and fitness, they are not the whole picture. Once your genes interact with your environment, the physical characteristics associated with them may change. We don’t have control over our genetic coding, but we do have some control over our environment. Exercise and nutrition choices have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing.
Wearable technology is making a personalized approach to health and wellbeing more accessible. The main feature is its ability to track your physical activity.
Now even the most standard devices can track how many steps you take and estimate your calorie intake and how many hours of sleep you’ve had. As technology continues to grow and improve, better apps will be developed and users will be able to access even more detailed information. “Indeed, the top trend for 2017 is the world of wearable tech, and I think that will continue for many years. My opinion is that, no matter what device you are using, if it assists in making users more accountable for their own actions when it comes to building health and fitness into their day-to-day lives, then it has to be seen as a positive. More importantly, if activity is tracked and can be linked to rewards, this is another positive,” says Virgin Active South Africa national production manager Ceri Hannon. Today’s consumers are used to a world that is convenient, fast and instant, and the fitness industry has adapted to this shift in behaviour. Social media platforms are now home to many individuals giving fitness advice; the information is literally at your fingertips.
Gamification of exercise
With an overwhelming number of communication channels giving us the means to be informed, educated and empowered, changing bad lifestyle habits has never been easier.
One of the biggest trends is the “gamification” of exercise and physical activity, which has been greatly driven by wearable technology. We are now able to track our steps, calories burnt and time spent sedentary. Knowing that there are potential rewards for achieving certain targets has made it a competitive focus for many.
This has been motivated by two main factors. Firstly, as a population we are now seeing and experiencing the consequences of inactivity more than ever before, in the form of lifestyle disease and premature aging. Secondly, although most people understand the long-term benefits of regular exercise, we are still motivated by instant gratification.
So, what should you try?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a silver bullet to achieve all of your fitness goals with one style of exercise. Simply following the latest workout trend will not guarantee that you are doing the right thing for your body. “There’s no risk that you’re doing the wrong thing, just because you’re not doing ‘the hot thing’,” says Tucker. “Options should give people freedom and scope to individualize their choice of training in a way that works for them.”
The types of workout styles, groups, fitness techniques and gadgetry will continue to grow as the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle become more important to people from all walks of life. Ultimately, however, it will always will be a case of staying relevant, keeping it fun, making it convenient and setting achievable goals.
It is also a good idea to know what body type you are so that you can decide on an optimal fitness regime that suits your body. Click here to find out what type you are and what will work best for you.