Health

Power through these fitness trends in 2020

Spending time outdoors, workout dates likely to be more popular next year

This is the year fitness went big and mainstream.

Gyms transformed into fitness playgrounds, boutique studios and activewear brands popped up everywhere, exercise events hit a record high and almost every watch brand launched its version of a fitness watch to cash in.

Whether you are looking to start a workout routine, trying to keep to one or finding ways to level up, here are the fitness trends that may take the lead in 2020.

OUTDOOR FITNESS

Unless you are lucky enough to work at a park or a beach, you probably spend your working hours indoors, with a desk plant or two, or that occasional stream of sunlight from a nearby window to call your dose of nature.

Which is why outdoor bootcamps and workout events such as Shape Run and Shape Yoga have become so popular over the years.

The more time we spend indoors, the more we crave outdoor experiences. Being in nature makes you happier, plus it brings about a host of health benefits.

Outdoor activities are ranked 13th on the American College of Sports Medicine's survey of fitness trends for 2020, up from 17th this year.

IMMERSIVE FITNESS

As much as we praise mindful movement such as yoga and pilates, there is also a sizeable camp that lives for stimulating environments.

We are talking about throwing punches or dancing on a bike in a dark setting with mood lighting (for instance, red when you are going all out, blue when you are taking a breather) to the beat of rock, pop or electronic dance music blasting from top-tier speakers.

Add charismatic fitness instructors to the mix, and you have a lethal, winning combination for a highly raved, waitlist-worthy class.

Clearly, this strategy appeals to the externally motivated and is being employed by a rising number of gyms studios.

Some examples are CruBox, Ground Zero, Haus Athletics and Barry's Bootcamp. Just ask those who swear by their spinning instructors, boxing classes and workout playlists.

FITNESS ANY TIME, ANYWHERE

People are starting to move away from the all-or-nothing approach when it comes to exercise. Short, incidental physical activities are getting more recognised, in part due to our obsession with move-tracking.

Think Amrap (as-many-reps-as-possible) workouts, seven-minute workouts, bathroom workouts and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (also known as Neat) such as taking the stairs, walking your dog, playing with children or doing housework.

The bottom line? Every little step counts.

LUNCHTIME WORKOUTS

This does not mean forgoing lunch to do a workout, but rather, fitting in a speedy 30- to 45-minute sweat session into a lunch break.

With free and accessible workouts made available by the Health Promotion Board, such as Healthy Workplace Ecosystem and Sunrise in the City, coupled with the rise of ClassPass that ties up with various gyms and studios to offer a smorgasbord of fitness classes all around the island, working out has never been this convenient.

FITNESS HOLIDAYS

Fitness vacations (or activacations) and retreats are becoming sought after and runcations are also a thing.

An active vacation relaxes and recharges you, essentially achieving all that you want from a holiday - without the sluggishness, unwanted weight gain or post-holiday guilt.

No time for an overseas trip? A fitness staycation will do just fine.

Check out wellness- focused hotels such as Oasia Hotel Downtown, which are paving the way for more mindful stays.

ALTERNATIVE CARDIO

Running is probably the most convenient cardio workout, but it is not for everyone.

Love or hate it, heart health matters - which is why cardio-based workouts such as cycling, spinning, boxing, rowing, trampolining and dance fitness have seen a surge in participation.

For a taste of trampolining, try the JumpX classes at TFX - a mix of plyometrics moves on the trampoline and resistance training exercises on the ground, done at a 30:30 work-rest ratio.

This high-intensity workout helps to improve speed, agility, endurance and strength.

FITNESS AS A PART OF WELLNESS

As the industry matures, we are starting to appreciate the strong co-existing relationships between fitness, health and nutrition.

Brands that reflect this wellness approach include Core Collective, a co-working space that houses wellness professionals such as exercise physiologists, psychologists and nutritionists together with fitness pros who teach anything from pilates to combat sports.

Ufit, which started as a personal training gym, recently launched its first integrated hub at Club Street to offer personal training, group exercise, physiotherapy and nutrition services under one roof.

ONLINE FITNESS

There are tons of exercise apps in the market, with popular ones being Daily Burn, Nike Training Club, Garmin Connect, Strava, Seven and Sweat.

The latter features programmes by well-known trainers such as Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells.

Closer to home, check out No Sweat, a fitness app created by local personal trainer and YouTuber Tyen Rasif, in partnership with Clicknetwork.

Launched in November, the free-to-download app lets users access a seven-day trial workout programme, as well as a fitness community where Miss Rasif posts fitness tips, food recipes, meal plans and related articles.

YOGA FITNESS

Once regarded as an activity to promote mindfulness and mental wellness, yoga is now widely practised for its physical benefits - key ones being strength, balance and flexibility.

It has also evolved to include many types beyond the classic hatha, vinyasa and Iyengar.

There is hot yoga, aerial yoga, acroyoga, yin yang yoga, alignment-based Anusara yoga, and even fusion yoga such as Hiit (high-intensity interval training) yoga, yogasthenics (yoga and calisthenics), yogilates (yoga and pilates) and yobarre (yoga and barre).

Yoga's reach has grown too. While yoga classes used to be offered at community centres, studios and big gyms, they are now accessible via fitness memberships such as ClassPass, and even just a click away with portals such as FitSphere.

Founded by Singapore-based yoga personality Liv Lo, who wants to make yoga workouts easily available to frequent travellers like herself, FitSphere has plans for beginners, busy travellers, Hiit yoga and yoga with weights.

FITNESS GETS SOCIAL

Bonding with friends and loved ones over workouts instead of drinks is getting more common, thanks to the proliferation of boutique studios that allow you to purchase a trial class or drop-in class without further commitment.

Going for workout dates can only be a good thing.

For starters, you will feel more accountable and be less likely to abandon a workout when there is a friend involved.

For those looking to be part of a larger community, consider joining running clubs (Adidas Runners Singapore and Asics Running Club), inclusive teamwork-driven CrossFit boxes and mass events such as YogaFest W.E. 2020 (March 21 and 22) and Shape Run in July or August 2020.

This article was first published in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

WELLNESS & BEAUTY