The Latest in Fitness
by Angie Kay Dilmore
Historically, there have always been hot new fitness trends each year that prompt us to move – hula-hoops in the 50s, vibrating belts in the 60s, Jane Fonda, Jazzercise, and Buns of Steel in the 80s, and Bow-Flex and the Thigh-Master in the 90s. Over the past two decades, we’ve seen P90X, Zumba, FitBits, Spin classes, and CrossFit, just to name a few. 2021 is expected to have its own trends, many brought on by a global pandemic that forced us out of our normal exercise routines, ie. gyms and fitness centers, and into either the great outdoors or our living rooms with YouTube videos. Read on for some of the latest developments in the fitness industry.
Moving Exercise Online or Outdoors
Last year proved to be an exceptionally difficult year for fitness centers across Southwest Louisiana – first they were forced to shut down in the spring due to Covid-19, and while some re-opened as restrictions lifted, many were destroyed or severely damaged during Hurricanes Laura and Delta. The result was an excruciating transition for diehard gym rats, but their dedication to health and fitness overcame their need for routine, and they found new avenues to feed their exercise addictions. Fortunately, several options were available.
For those who simply couldn’t break their gym membership habits, many fitness clubs moved their programs online, for example Mossa on Demand at Dynamic Dimensions and Les Mills On Demand.
Some fitness fans opted to move their exercise routines outdoors – there’s no end to the possibilities: walking, running, biking, tennis, basketball, swimming, kayaking . . .
Aquatic Based Stability Training
Balance training on an unstable surface – for example, water – is one of the coolest new trends for fitness. It is basically a workout on a floating yoga mat. An offshoot of stand-up paddleboards, products from Glide Fit are designed for indoor and outdoor pools. This unique, stationary, floating fitness mat enables clients at gyms, resorts, recreation centers, and hospitals to get all the benefits of core stabilization and the challenge of instability.
A Higher Standard of Sanitation and Safety
Once restrictions were lifted and gyms were able to re-open last year, responsible management followed CDC guidelines and ramped up their efforts to keep clients and staff safe by limiting the number of people allowed inside, decreasing class sizes, moving exercise equipment six feet apart, and escalating disinfection efforts. Mike Elinski, Managing Partner at CLUB4 Fitness, says providing safe and clean facilities has been a fundamental part of their operations plan since their inception in 2002, with strict cleaning zones and time bound rotations. “This past year we further bolstered these measures by implementing electrostatic sprayers and enhanced protocols for our team and club members so that we were able to continue to provide safe clubs for all members of the community.”
A Smart Way to Exercise
We could have guessed that after the advent of Smart TVs, the technology would soon translate to the exercise business and Smart workout machines. Peloton was all the rage last year, but that is only the beginning. Exercise equipment with built-in smart technology connects with apps to track progress. Consider, for example, Mirror ($1,495, plus $39 every month for the content subscription). Mirror looks like a giant iPhone hung on the wall. Through the device, participants engage in more than 70 workouts—think cardio, strength, Pilates, barre, boxing—streamed from Mirror’s production studio in New York, either live or on-demand. The experience is akin to that of an in-person class, without the hassle of commuting or being held to a strict time commitment. The downside of these products is that they lack the social interaction, which is a huge draw for some to join a gym.
Mind Meets Body
No doubt about it, 2020 was a year fraught with stress and anxiety, which led to an uptick in practices that provide not only physical fitness, but a mental boost, as well; for example Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and other holistic health disciplines. “Whether it be Pilates, yoga, ballet or an online fitness class, moving my body helps to clear any mental stress I may have,” says Colleen Benoit, fitness enthusiast and owner of Lake Area Ballet Theatre. “It is one of the most important things that I have continued in my daily routines during the past year, to help keep myself moving forward.”
Seniors have been intentionally active for decades. The iconic Silver Sneakers organization was founded 28 years ago. And seniors continue to strive to be as healthy and fit as possible through exercise and diet. In 2020, the number of people age 60 or older who exercise regularly surpassed one billion for the first time ever, according to the International Council on Active Aging.
Fitness clubs recognize this trend and create classes and programs specifically for the Baby Boomer generation. This age group prefers activities such as walking, biking, dancing, swimming/water aerobics, and exercise classes with peers. Gardening and lawn care are also great sources of physical activity.