Every year trends and fads sweep the fitness world, promising incredible results.
Those that have stood the test of time include strength-based training, group fitness activities and all things tech. Wearable devices are still on the rise, but virtual reality and gaming are emerging as major players.
This year, you might also find yourself sweating it out on the dance floor. And instead of spending hours at the gym, we’ll squeeze in bite-sized activity whenever and wherever we can.
We asked fitness experts to share their favourite exercise trends taking over Australia in 2018.
Here to stay:
This is on the rise but not as you know it. But, rather than lifting weights and pumping iron, fitness fanatics are experimenting with body-weight exercises, says Collective Wellness Group wellness director Dan Conn.
“Strength training has never been so widely recognised for its benefits,” he says. “Women are fully on board as the advantages are not only weight loss and a boosted metabolism, but you are setting yourself up for an injury-reduced life.”
There will also be a big focus on barre classes, which combine elements of ballet, yoga and Pilates, Conn says.
But you don’t need fancy equipment to build strength. Simple exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups are just as effective, according to a recent University of Sydney study. Experts recommend two days of strength-based exercises each week.
Not sure how to get started? Read our guide on strength training at any age.
Group outdoor fitness
The popularity of group training continues. In 2018, more people are expected to take their training to the great outdoors and get involved in group challenges.
Conn says there are several reasons for group training’s success.
“The motivation factor is a big one – no one wants to cancel a class and let down their mates,” he says. “Being part of a community environment drives consistency and dedication … and there’s that good old competitive spirit.”
These days, putting on a wearable fitness device is as common as grabbing your keys, wallet and phone, according to Dale Cronin, exercise scientist and Personal Training Workshop Company founder.
“People are constantly tracking variables such as calorie expenditure, total steps taken, distance covered, exercise reminders and more,” he says.
Cronin predicts a surge in online personal training in 2018, with a focus on tracking food, exercise and accountability via face-time, text and email.
On the rise:
If busting a move on the dance floor is (or was) your speciality, you’ll love the latest fitness class sweeping Australia.
Clubbercise combines dance, toning and combat moves with nightclub-style lighting and flashing LED glow sticks. If that’s not your style, why not try other high-energy social dances such as salsa, Zumba or tap?
With more Australians understanding the importance of regular exercise to ward off chronic disease and not simply as a weight-loss tool, incidental activity has become a focus for many.
Taking the dog for a walk, leaving the car at home, taking the stairs and walking on your lunch break are simple ways to add bite-sized exercise into your daily routine.
Losing weight while playing video games sounds too good to be true, but that’s what happens when you’re too busy having fun.
Half an hour of gaming can burn 200 calories – or 2400 calories in a week if you play for an hour a day, according to the manufacturers of Just Dance 2018.
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption
Known as EPOC, this involves training with your heart rate above 80 per cent for 12 minutes or more in an hour-long session.
“If you get in this zone, you’re guaranteed to continue burning calories hours after your workout ends,” Conn says.
One of the most effective ways to achieve this is with high-intensity interval training. But Cronin warns HIIT is not for everyone.
“It provides excellent calorie expenditure, there’s a vast number of exercises and different muscle groups worked, and sessions are short,” he says. “However, group classes can have limited exercise pre-screening to identify if anyone is at risk of intense workloads, while form and technique can be neglected.”
Regardless of fitness trend, the most important message to take home is that a little physical activity is better than none. And the right exercise for you is the one that you are most likely to stick to all year round.