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Fitness trends: what to expect in 2016

11 January, 2016
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According to Gawker, 2014 was the year of PAIN. It was the year that you were encouraged to walk through the pain of exertion in order to emerge in the promised land of fitness. In 2015, it shifted to a new focus: FREE FITNESS. While pain was still required to get results, an expensive gym bill wasn’t, and all of a sudden fitness had retreated to the times of the school gym class - push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, squats and those ‘pain-riddled’ burpees that everyone secretly loves. Body weight training and high intensity interval training are most certainly big news at present, but will it continue in 2016?

Let’s take a look at the expected fitness trends for the coming year…

Core training

2016 will have a greater focus on increased mobility, core strength and poise as opposed to big bulging muscles, in part due to popular shows such as Ninja Warrior. The idea is to focus on building stamina and greater flexibility, and sources of inspiration include October’s Red Bull Art of Motion awards which saw the world’s fittest flip, jump, spin and drop in a mix of art and sport.

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The increased desire to develop strength, agility and flexibility is causing the once popular Parkour to re-emerge. Developed in the eighties in the suburbs of Paris, this highly-skilled art of navigating across obstacles in the natural environment has started to move from the streets and into gyms as the ultimate workout.

Another art/fitness trend regaining momentum is surfing, which focuses on the core as you balance. Inland residents need not worry about missing out, because mechanical surfboards are predicted to enter some gyms in 2016. There’s even a new development opening in Britain’s Snowdonia called the Wavegarden, which will enable ideal surfing conditions with 1.9m high tubing waves that peel for 200m.

Wearable technology

In 2016 there will be a new generation of nearly invisible fitness solutions, and the use of augmented and virtual realities for fitness. Fitness tracking has been incorporated into apparel of all sorts. Trackers now monitor everything from galvanic skin response (the electrical properties of the skin), to your blood oxygen levels; from your emotional state to your lung capacity; from geo-location to active advice on how to reach goals.

In this day and age of portable high-tech gadgets, we’ve all become accustomed to these little conveniences that can make a big difference to our busy lives. Big ticket items are expected to be fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices, and smartwatches, with some business analysts predicting that the wearable technology market will be worth $6 billion dollars by 2016.

Child’s playFitness 2

If you regularly find yourself getting bored with exercise, you might like to take note of a new fad: Rabble. Rabble has a play hard attitude and creates high energy workouts based on some of your favourite games: Tag, Capture the Flag, and British Bulldog to name a few. While Rabble is based in the UK, the idea of child’s play for exercise is gaining popularity and it might not be long before we see something of a similar kind in Australia. Imagine being so focused on having fun that you forget you’re getting fit!

Bodyweight training

You read right, bodyweight training is sticking around for another year. In fact, the ACSM put it at the number two slot on 2016’s biggest trends list. This is a great thing! Bodyweight exercises are simple and effective and help improve balance, flexibility and strength without the need for expensive machinery and equipment.

Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and at any time, and put less strain on your joints compared to heavy weights. They call in more work from your core and can be modified to suit your fitness level. Let’s salute bodyweight training and welcome its’ return in 2016!

Fitness for older adults

Clued on to the fact that some baby boomers are more cashed up than their younger counterparts, many fitness professionals are designing fitness programs with older adults in mind. Regular exercise in old age has a powerful effect on life expectancy and can greatly improve one’s quality of life. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that men exercising more than three hours a week are expected to live five years longer than those who don’t. 

Fitness 3Popular activities expected for older adults in 2016 include: yoga, swimming, Tai Chi and walking groups.

Have you noticed a theme building here?

Most of the hottest fitness trends predicted for 2016 can be performed outdoors and in natural surroundings, getting you away from the stuffy gym. The timing’s perfect too, as 2016 could be the year that scientists finally release a pill to stop sunburn. British researchers have been analysing coral samples from the Great Barrier Reef since 2011, and have produced a tablet that offers sun protection for the entire body. So, soon you'll be able to exercise outdoors without having to lather up with sunscreen first!

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