The world of fitness is always changing. And 2016 has been a year of crazy innovation across the fitness industry.
Perhaps nothing will define 2016 more than Pokémon GO (more on that later!) Maybe the Mannequin Challenge or the unstoppable rise of the “Dab”?
For gym-goers, there has been no shortage of new technology that has revolutionised the way we keep fit. Now, with the New Year upon us, we’re certain that things will continue to develop in the coming 12 months.
To ensure that we’re all ahead of the curve, we asked a number of experts for their 2017 health and fitness trend predictions.
Here’s what they told us…
1) Workouts - The more they change, the more they stay the same
Group exercise classes are always going to be popular, but which specific classes are going to be all the rage in 2017?
Frida Harju, the in-house nutritionist at health app Lifesum, shared her thoughts.
Frida reckons that we’re set for a ‘return to basics’, with old-school classics set to show a spike in popularity.
“Boxing has already begun having a revival, as people try new forms of boxing such as the ‘Boxerina’ workout, which combines fast boxing movements to get your heart rate up with Barre movements to help strength and improve flexibility,” she commented.
“HIIT (high intensity interval training) has achieved great popularity in recent years, so much so, that we can expect to see [a new craze developing - ‘Floatfit’],” Frida added.
This essentially follows the same principles as a HIIT workout, but now the class is conducted on water.
“By taking part in the class whilst balancing on an inflatable board, your muscles work harder to maintain balance, thus maximising the effects of the exercises.”
This high-intensity workout has already started to gather momentum across the pond and is set to take the UK by storm in 2017.
“Known as the ‘Orange Effect’, the heart-based workout can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour and even continues to burn calories up to 36 hours after,” Frida explained.
2) Strength training for the win!
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently released its trends for 2017, which showed that strength training will continue to be a prominent trend over in the States.
We believe that the UK will follow suit.
Strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise programme for all physical activity levels. In fact, a recent trial led by the University of Sydney showed that resistance training can not only help to stimulate muscle growth, it can enhance brain function too.
Carly Tierney, our resident fitness expert, explained why strength training will be in the limelight next year.
“So many more people are realising the benefits and understanding that it's not something just for men, or people who want to get huge! It helps preserve muscle mass and increase your metabolism to burn more calories even when you aren’t working out,” she commented.
So, if you’re hoping to lose weight in the New Year, it’s time to pick up some weights!
3) Apps will take your workout to the next level
It’s not too hard to see that the market has been flooded with apps and gadgets that aim to help you to workout and stay fit. Our verdict? They’re here to stay! We’re going to run through some of the most popular ones with you.
One of DW’s very own personal trainers, Leon Williams, said that the trend to look out for is apps that allow users to create groups with friends and compete against each other. Apps that are both ‘motivating and challenging’ will be popular, with Leon adding that the more social and the more supportive a group setting you can create, the better and more encouraging health and fitness can be.
To put some perspective on this, according to the Guardian one Pokémon GO player reportedly lost two stone (12.7kg) after he walked 140 miles (225km) playing the game.
The game also caught the attention of Glasgow GP, Margaret McCartney, who wrote in the British Medical Journal that such apps can have a positive effect on people who need to be more active.
She wrote: “The possibilities for apps to make the streets an active, reclaimed playground in which to have interconnected fun are boundless. Increased physical activity is a tantalising side effect.”
Keep an eye out for even more interactive games in the next 12 months.
4) Fitness technology will be a game-changer – you can bet your shirt on it!
It’s not just apps that are going to make waves in the fitness industry next year.
2016 saw the rise of the smart watch, with the Fitbit being the market leader. The connectivity of smart watches means it’s now possible to sync your workout with your friends.
Here’s a rundown of some of the gadgets that we love the most. Expect them to grow in popularity in 2017.
The Hexoskin Shirt is a biometric smart shirt that provides you with data like heart rate, breathing rate and movement, and syncs up with a variety of wellness apps, including MapMyRun and RunKeeper.
iFit NordicTrack Escape
What do you get when you stick a 60-inch, 4K TV screen to a treadmill? The iFit NordicTrack Escape of course! This treadmill transports you to scenic locations around the world, and can also work with Google Maps.
A breathalyser that aims to figure out how you can lose weight by analysing the acetone in your breath, LEVL is sure to make an impact next year!
Thanks to DNA analysis becoming more affordable, FitnessGenes is a service that creates a customised diet and exercise plan, according to your genetic needs, taking your lifestyle into account.
5) Glorious food: we’ll be going crazy for seaweed and aubergine!
Whether or not you buy into the superfood hype, there’s no doubt that 2017 will herald the dawn of a new ultra-trendy health food of some description.
The new kale
Waitrose’s Food and Drinks Report 2016 suggests that seaweed is set to dethrone kale from its perch, as it’s a good source of calcium and iron and can be eaten as ‘spaghetti’, in salads or as a vegetable. The Fiscal Times and Food & Drink Resources respectively observe that people are really loving seaweed thanks to its presence in Ramen, a Japanese dish that is rising in popularity.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the superfood to watch is moringa – the leaves of the Moringa Oleifera tree which grows in Haiti and parts of Latin America and Africa – which are drawing interest for their nutritional content.
We recently talked about muscle-building foods for vegans, and it seems that the meat-free lifestyle will be ever-popular in 2017.
Jackfruit - an Asian tropical fruit that’s part of the fig and mulberry family – is an interesting one.
The WSJ reckons that jackfruit has the most potential to go mainstream because of its meaty texture and ability to absorb the flavours in which it’s cooked.
Frida believes that aubergine will make a major comeback in the New Year.
“Aubergine skin is high in phytonutrients and chlorogenic acid, and as part of the Mediterranean diet is believed to be very good for the heart,” she said.
Waitrose’s own research confirmed this resurgence, revealing that aubergine is the latest carb substitute, with sales rising by 18% so far this year, and is a favourite replacement for the burger bun, as well as pasta sheets.
You’ll be seeing more of it in 2017!
Not to be confused with Poké Balls, Frida explained the Hawaiian delicacy, pronounced ‘po-kay’, is essentially chunks of raw fish in a marinade (sort of deconstructed sushi).
Waitrose’s report added that “poke looks likely to be next year’s must-eat snack, like sushi was 20 years ago”.
Following the success of coconut water, we’ll be seeing more plant waters being added to our diets next year. Here’s a few we reckon will be hits:
• Birch sap water – which Frida notes boasts high levels of antioxidants, natural minerals and Xylitol (a natural sugar).
• Cactus plant water - she points to the ‘prickly pear’, which has health benefits that include helping fight high cholesterol levels and curing hangovers.