With parks and living rooms substituting for our makeshift workout spaces, it’s safe to say the fitness landscape has changed dramatically over the past year.
Trainers and gym brands have quickly adapted to suit our ‘new normal’, launching digital fitness operations to keep us moving. And with restrictions still in place, it looks like 2021 will continue to be a time where we put our physical and mental health first, finding new ways to stay happy and healthy at home.
But aside from that, what are the other big buzzwords and trends on the horizon in the world of fitness?
1. Tech-integrated clothing
Rather than strapping gadgets to our wrists, a new breed of smart clothing will allow us to track our fitness performance with ease and comfort in mind. Tech-infused garments use natural skin contact to read the wearer’s biometrics, and Silicon Valley has been developing all kinds of new connected clothing, from leggings and hoodies to trainers.
Athos Core (shop.liveathos.com) was founded by two athletes who sought to create gym kit that would feed back data in real-time. Their second-skin shirts and shorts measure your muscle performance using a type of technology called EMG (electromyography), sending detailed reports to an accompanying app.
Keep an eye out for Hexoskin (hexoskin.com) too. This fast growing start-up creates smart vests and T-shirts that hide a small device in a secret pouch, which can monitor heart rate, calories, breathing rate and volume, steps, cadence and even your sleep.
2. At-home spa experiences
If you’re missing your weekly sauna and steam, you’ll be happy to hear that the spa experience could soon be upping sticks to your living room.
Infrared sauna blanket companies like MiHigh (mihigh.co.uk) and SmoMar (smomar.co.uk) allow you to tap into the benefits of sweating out the day’s stresses at a fraction of the cost of installing an actual sauna. Their high-tech blankets can be laid out and plugged in at home, heating the body using infrared light.
3. Covid-specific fitness
If you’ve recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection, returning to exercise can be a challenge. It’s normal to feel tired, weak and out of breath, so experts advise against jumping straight back into your usual high-intensity workouts.
In response, gyms and trainers will be launching Covid recovery programmes designed to help people getting over a bout of the virus return to fitness.
TenClinical, the clinical division of boutique fitness provider Ten Health and Fitness, has launched a Coronavirus Recovery programme.
The programme is an evidence-driven and clinically proven recovery and rehabilitation programme specifically designed for those who previously contracted and are still suffering from coronavirus. It is designed to help reduce the impact of long Covid symptoms and help patients recover faster from its impact.
4. Finding new ways to meditate
The benefits of meditation have been well documented, but lots of us struggle to tap into that ‘quiet mind’ feeling. Next year, we’ll continue to train our mental wellbeing, just as much as our physical bodies, finding ways to switch off the internal chatter.
Netflix has kicked off the new year with a new animated series in partnership with Headspace, called Headspace Guide To Meditation, which aims to help people build a practice at home.
If the woo-woo language often tied up with mediation cringes you out though, check out Spoke (spoke.world), a soon-to-launch hip hop and spoken word meditation app that’s on a mission to engage more young people in mindfulness practice.
5. Remote training
In an ideal world, we’d all love to hit the yoga studios and weights room again. But with the reopening of gyms still hanging in the balance, digital training will continue to boom.
Some of the UK’s best boutique gyms, like BLOK (bloklondon.com), Psycle (psyclelondon.com) and Barry’s Bootcamp (barrys.com) have all launched digital platforms. Working out remotely is only going to continue to grow, as people continue to work from home, not venture far – and want challenging and exciting options to rival in-person sessions.
6. Sexual wellness
When we orgasm, we release hormones including oxytocin and serotonin, which have important wellbeing benefits, such as reducing stress and helping us sleep better. We know the health benefits shouldn’t be overlooked, yet sex and pleasure still remain a fairly taboo topic.
A new wave of smart, female-founded companies like Lelo (lelo.com), Smile Makers (smilemakerscollection.com) and Womanizer (womanizer.com), which is co-designed by Lily Allen, are aiming to take the taboo out of sexual wellness.
Using next-gen sex toys, these start-ups will continue to change the way we think about female pleasure and wellness, seeing it as a key way to develop a positive relationship with ourselves and our bodies.