Top Fitness Trends Of 2022 – Best Workout Tips and Health Trends – ELLE
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Here’s everything you need to future-proof your workout this year.
Keeping fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, is a paramount concern as the Coronavirus pandemic rages on.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since the majority of us were relegated to our homes to work (and play) after the government enforced its first set of lockdown restrictions. The guidelines stated that people should stay at home where possible and only leave for activities such as shop for basic necessities, going to work only if you couldn’t do so from home, meet a support or childcare bubble and exercise once a day as gyms and leisure centres closed their doors.
As result, many of us immediately took to transforming our living rooms and bedrooms into at-home gyms, complete with skipping ropes, yoga matts and dumbbells. As lockdown restrictions have yo-yoed, people have continued to use virtual workouts, courtesy of fitness companies such as Barry’s Bootcamp, Psycle, FRAME and Kobox, to fill their spare time and find a new work/life balance.
Others dusted off their bikes and dug out their running trainers to head outside for fresh air. In 2021 Strava saw a 38 per cent year on year increase in uploaded activities, and welcomed two million new athletes per month to its global community.
With gyms and leisure centres finally open and a new year now upon us, many of us are questioning when (if at all) we’ll head back to a professional workout space and if we do, how we’ll adapt our routines to the lessons we’ve learnt about wellbeing and fitness over the last two years.
As a result, we’ve rounded up the workouts and fitness trends you can look forward to sweating, and smiling, your way through to ensure your mind and body are in top condition this year.
Mushrooms might not be the first food to spring to mind when considering which vegetables to add to your diet in 2022. However, they’re widely believed to be the ingredient of the year.
Mushrooms (the non-psychedelic kind) have adaptogenic properties that help counteract the effects of stress on the body. For centuries, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine has used mushrooms to reduce inflammation, support the immune system, brain health, the nervous system and increase energy. ‘Superfood’ mushrooms are now widely available in supermarkets and online and include names like Lion’s Mane (which is full of beta-glucans to protect against oxidative stress), Reishi and Maitake (which help bolster the immune system), Cordyceps (which can improve lung capacity) and Shittake (to support immunity).
It now appears the fitness industry is waking up to the ‘mushroom effect’, with several well-known brands selling mushroom supplements to aid performance and post-workout recovery. For example, Puresport recently launched its Mind Body Mushroom Blend, which contains six medicinal mushrooms. According to its founder Grayson Hart, the blend resulted in the biggest uptake in sales for any product launch the company has done. ‘It exceeded other launches by 48 per cent in terms of sales numbers which shows that there is a genuine appetite and interest for mushroom supplements,’ he tells ELLE UK.
In wider culture, mushrooms are tipped to be hugely popular in the worlds of fashion and food too this year, with mushroom prints appearing in SS22 collections from the likes of Brandon Maxwell, Stella McCartney and Rodarte, while oyster mushrooms are believed to be the new replacement for scallops, according to the New York Times.
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When it comes to mental health, several countries including the UK are also taking notice of the psychological benefits of magic mushrooms. Yes, really. A year after several states in the US legalised psilocybin – a psychedelic drug found in magic mushrooms – last October the BBC reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was now considering the legalisation of the drug as result of its potential to help with mental health conditions such as depression and addiction.
Fungi for 2022, anyone?
Backwards running, otherwise known as reverse running, sounds like an oxymoron, we know, but it’s becoming increasingly popular with those wanting to improve rehabilitation after injury, such as hamstring, low back and knee joint damage.
According to a recent PureGym survey, there has been a 50 per cent increase in online searches for reverse running in the last year, thanks to the practice’s ability to balance out muscles and alleviate impact on the knees, by reducing imbalances between the anterior and posterior muscles. How does reverse running work? It creates a greater range of motion at the hip joint, creating a more aligned posture and produces greater activation of the calves and quadriceps.
When it comes to performance, reverse running is widely believed to be as effective as speed intervals insofar as it creates a greater cardiovascular demand, which therefore improves endurance and aerobic capacity. ‘Many believe that one lap on a track backward is the equivalent of eight laps running forward!’ Runners World coach Jenny Hadfield previously explained.
Jason Bone, head of Strength at Flex Chelsea, tells ELLE UK: ‘I would make sure someone has relatively good proprioception before giving this exercise a go, as it can feel a little awkward to begin with!’
Just remember to look where you’re going.
As Covid-19 variants continue to affect everyday life, from the way we interact with friends to the use of communal facilities, hygiene will continue to be a huge focus in 2022.
According to CitronHygiene 67 per cent of people in the UK say they are more afraid of germs and conscious of hygiene now, than before the Coronavirus pandemic. So it makes sense why several gyms such as F45 and Third Space have regularly implemented a reduction on class numbers, compulsory sanitising of equipment and the wearing of masks during demonstrations in line with rising Covid-19 cases.
And it makes sense, especially given that when it comes to the gym, a study published in 2020 found that drug-resistant bacteria and other pathogens were found on approximately a quarter of surfaces researchers tested in four different fitness facilities. However, research published in December from ukActive, carried out between July 25, 2020 to November 21, 2021 showed that leisure and sport facilities in the UK saw more than 160 million visits, with an overall rate of just 1.6 cases per 100,000 visits.
‘If you spray a virus onto a surface, like a dumbbell, it will just sit there,’ Simon Clarke, a microbiologist and associate professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, told us last year. ‘The virus won’t move unless someone picks it up again. Gyms pose a higher degree of risk because people are constantly touching things that you will then go and touch yourself.’
Fortunately there are several brands now offering products that help gym goers keep hygiene a top priority. For example La Pochette sells machine washable antibacterial Sweat Bags which enable owners to keep their dirty gym kit separate from other items in their rucksack. Meanwhile, brands like Sweaty Betty, Gymshark and Lululemon offer a range of sweat towels.
If it doubt, always remember to carry a bottle of hand sanitiser with you in a gym or studio to use before and after using equipment.
It won’t surprise you when we say that the fitness industry hasn’t always had the best reputation for inclusivity. Whether it’s marketing images of svelte physiques or online diet plans that encourage you to create an impossible ‘new you’, unrealistic beauty standards in fitness have long prevented many individuals from stepping foot in a gym or picking up a kettlebell.
Worse still, the Activity Alliance 2021 Annual Survey found that twice as many disabled people felt that Covid-19 greatly reduced their ability to do sport or physical activity (27 per cent) compared to non-disabled people (13 per cent).
If the pandemic has taught us anything over the last 22 months it’s that Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate, and nor should our response to encouraging everyone to be their fittest and healthiest self, no matter their shape or size.
In 2022, several brands are championing the importance of inclusive fitness, including ukActive which recently launched a new study, Everyone Can, to shine a spotlight on the UK fitness industry’s provision for people with disabilities. ‘The stark reality is that disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive as the rest of the population,’ says Adam Blaze, strategic lead for disability at Sport England. ‘As the sport and physical activity sector recovers from the pandemic, we must work harder than ever to ensure that disabled people are not left behind.’
Last year, a Soul Cycle branch in Boston, US launched a sign language class, in order to encourage more riders to the studio by increasing accessibility for those with disabilities. Meanwhile, world champion Paralympian Ali Jawad launched her Accessercise fitness app, which features a variety of exercises suited to certain impairments and allows users to rate training facilities based on accessibility to they can help others find inclusive studios and gyms.
Check out our list of the best fitness apps here.
Rowing might be synonymous with the Boat Race and frosty early morning starts, but indoor rowing has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years as fitness lovers look at ways of incorporating low-impact interval training exercises in short amounts of time.
According to data from BrandRated, searches for ‘indoor rowing’ saw a 990 per cent increase between July 2020 and 2021, while searches for ‘at-home rowing machines’ experienced an uplift too.
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Now there are several indoor rowing machine brands changing the smart fitness market, from Hydrow, with its 22-inch HD screen which has access to nearly 3,000 workouts, to Topiom, which sells a retro-looking oak-wood frame rower with a water tank to increase resistance that would look chic in any home gyn.
According to Dr Kristin Haraldsdottir, director of exercise research and innovation for Hydrow, which was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2020, rowing works out up to 86 per cent of your body, activating several muscle groups in the upper body, lower body and core all at once, which ultimately enables you to build strength and burn calories.
‘It’s also virtually zero impact, so it’s gentle on the joints, unlike high-impact forms of exercise, like running, and actively builds bone density,’ they add.
Alternatively, if you want to find a rowing club near you, check out the British Rowing organisation’s list of locations and become part of a club here.
We don’t know about you, but the thought of exercising with hula hoops has a distinctly Mr Motivator or Jane Fonda vibe to it. However, hula hooping has had a serious makeover in recent years, with companies like Chahula, Hula Schoola!, Hulafit and Planet Hoop all teaching techniques to perfecting one’s hip movements.
Looking ahead to 2022, the recent PureGym survey found searches for weighted hula hoops have doubled since this time last year, while the hashtag #weightedhulahoop now has over 198.8 million views on TikTok.
According to Lucy Usher, a personal trainer at FLEX Chelsea, hula hooping is an incredibly popular workout as it not only improves one’s aerobic health and core strength, but can help burn up to 400 calories in an hour and reduce stress levels.
‘It’s a low impact workout meaning there is no unnecessary strain on the body whilst you are hooping and therefore appeals to all ages and genders. It’s a great form of cardio as it requires you to find a rhythm within your body to keep the hoop up around the hips and within that you can decide how fast or slow you hula,’ she tells us.
When it comes to choosing whether to opt for a weighted or regular hoop, Usher notes that a weighted version is easier to keep around the hips ‘as you have extra momentum from the weights and therefore you can find your rhythm a little easier’. As a result, the trainer advises beginners to start with a weighted hoop before moving on to a regular one.
It’ll come as no surprise that cycling continues to be hugely popular in 2022. During lockdown, ‘Everesting’ (which involves climbing the 8,848m elevation height of Mount Everest) proved a welcome activity change for cycling enthusiasts (Strava saw 600 per cent more rides uploaded in June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019), as did Peloton workouts, resulting in the US company generating $4.02 billion revenue last year (a 120 per cent increase year-on-year).
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This year, we expect to see the rise of multi-cycle classes, with studios such as Third Space Mayfair launching London’s first group Wattbike class and AMP Athletic in Marylebone using air bikes to increase calorie burn during sessions.
There are also several new at-home bikes on the market, including the SoulCycle At-Home bike (with workouts that can be streamed via the Equinox+), Apex Rides (available in mist, sand, navy or black) and Bowflex VeloCore (which allows you to move side to side).
Whereas once we might have gone for a 10km jog without stretching or sat down at our desks immediately after having finished a HIIT workout, recovery is now a priority in many fitness lovers’ minds. After all, active recovery and rest days are just as important as weight and cardio workouts.
Cryotherapy and stretching classes have been popular in the UK for several years, thanks to sessions like Stretch at Barrecore, Bend It Like Barbie at Frame, S&M (stretch and massage) at Gymbox and the RX Series at Equinox.
However, as many of us became more sedentary as the Covid-19 pandemic has continued, it’s never been more important to get up and stretch out our muscles and focus on recovery. If you find yourself clenching your teeth or straining your eyes during the day, we suggest booking a one-to-one online workout with FaceGym to help sculpt, lift and tone the face, as well as tackle facial tension in the jaw, neck, head and eyes.
For those looking for a full-body stretch, book a fascial stretch therapy session at Bodyism, subscribe to the world’s first smart ice bath and CWT app – Monk –that’s launching in 2022 or invest in some AGOGIE resistance band leggings, which have eight resistance bands built-in so you can perform some active recovery on your rest day.
2022 – we’re ready for you!