After a season of overindulgence, gym memberships are metaphorically flying off the shelves and motto of the moment is: ‘this is my year’.
According to the Fitness Industry Association, 12 per cent of gym members sign up in January – but most don’t make it past 24 weeks.
Finding an enjoyable workout is key to sustaining a long-term fitness plan – but keeping up with all the latest trends (goat yoga, anybody?) can be exhausting in itself.
Employers can not only help workers kickstart their fitness journey, through benefits such as subsidised gym memberships, but can also help them stick to their long-term goals, through the use of effective messaging and incentives.
Here, we make it easy and outline the top five new fitness trends that employees are set to become obsessed with in 2018.
HIIT – and LIIT
HIIT was thee buzzword of 2017. And the trend is still very much on the rise. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) comprises intermittent ‘sprint’ exercises at maximum effort, ranging between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, followed by an active or non-active recovery period.
The short but extremely effective workout has proved popular with time-restricted fitness fanatics across the country – but a more accessible ‘sister’ workout is emerging.
LIIT – Light-Intensity Interval Training – can burn through as many calories as HIIT, but at a slower pace and with longer recovery periods. Instead of a 30-minute workout, you would be looking at a 60-minute workout, but one that is more suitable for all fitness levels and lessens the risk of injury.
Employees should switch up the styles for maximum effectiveness.
Functional training has been a key focus of the fitness sphere for the past few years, but it is expected to feature more heavily in 2018.
Functional training has its origins in rehabilitation and helps build strength, power, stability and mobility, conditioning you to perform your daily routine more effectively.
The emphasis is on mimicking everyday movement, rather than training isolated muscle groups, so expect lots of basic functional movement patterns like pushing, pulling, squatting, rotating, carrying and walking.
You can see this shift in gyms up and down the country, with the addition of slosh pipes, battling ropes, sandbags, kettlebells and suspension trainers, alongside the traditional free weights, such as, barbells and dumbbells.
This is a really versatile workout, making it a good choice for the time-strapped.
All employees need is flexible, elastic rope, which can be suspended between two anchors low to the ground, either on a workout machine or between two trees or posts.
You can start off by trying to stay still on the rope for as long as possible and progress to balancing while walking, crawling, doing lunges etc. Essentially, the slackline is the new wobble balance board.
Slacklining is a full body-workout, and is especially good for improving core strength, as well as balance, posture and focus (expect lots of falling off).
And a bonus? It’s really fun and employees can squeeze in some exercise while relaxing with friends in the park.
For those who rely on classes to get their fitness fix, it can be very frustrating if busy work schedules, traffic or late booking means you have to skip them.
Never miss a class again with live streaming.
Exercise videos are not a new trend but live streaming is different and set to explode in popularity. Cameras and mics are set up in studios across the globe and real classes are streamed to your mobile, tablet or laptop. If you miss a live class, you can download and save it for later.
Some platforms, such as Forte Fit, allow you to see fellow class members working up a sweat and even allows you to sync your Fitbit, Apple Watch, or other wearables, so you can track your performance on the brand’s leaderboards, as well as monitor your progress and achievements over time.
Employers can help support their employees by subsidising wearables, run fitness league tables and reward employees for reaching their health goals.
Returning to play
This is all about injecting the fun back into fitness and a return to the active child-like movement we have forgotten over the years.
Think deep squats, climbing and swinging from trees – essentially playing like you did as a child.
Employees will use up energy every time they change direction, movement or pace and the great thing about this type of workout is that they can do it for free. They can just pop down to their local park and get out of breath. And if they feel a bit foolish, they can grab a friend to join them.
If the outdoors is not for them, they should keep a look out for Animal Flow classes in a nearby gym. The new primal-like workout combines ground-based ‘animal-like movements’ with elements from various practices – from yoga to dance, bodyweight to endurance training.
Ten minutes exercise app
Public Health England has launched an ‘Active 10’ app to encourage people to do at least 10 minutes’ exercise every day. The app is described as an ‘easy way to improve your health and wellbeing’. It is available for Android and iOS mobile devices.