The future of exercise and fitness is a fascinating subject. With digital technology continually advancing way beyond what we ever could have expected a few years ago and with breakthroughs in science providing us with more efficient ways to benefit our health and optimize our fitness, we have decided to take a look at the new and exciting developments we can expect to see in the fitness plans of 2016.
Sounds easy, right? Well yes, it obviously goes without saying that the more you move the fitter and healthier you are, but it’s not so much about how often you move, more about the way in which you do it. 2016 sees movement become the ultimate buzzword in fitness circles, combining physical strength with fun to create exercise training plans not too dissimilar to the adventure runs and assault courses, such as Tough Mudder, that are around today. Too much time spent sitting at desks, hunched over keyboards has resulted in many of us having bad postures, muscle imbalance and this leads to pre-conditioned bad movement patterns during exercise. What this means is that not only will you be working out at a mere fraction of your capability, but you also run a high risk of injuring yourself. Gray Cook, the founder of Functional Movement Systems believes that ‘self limiting’ exercise that requires ‘complete engagement’ is the answer to solving our movement worries. Moves, such as bear crawls, tree climbing and log carrying are all great for stamina and mobility and also help build up core strength, which over time will realign and encourage correct movement of the body. We predict that 2016 will see an increase in movement based classes with an emphasis on pressure free fun to achieve optimum results.
Body Weight Training
Body weight training is all about using your own body as a weight with a view to building up core strength, mobility and flexibility. 2015 has already seen the popularity of competitive exercise, such as Crossfit, which uses body weight training, dramatically increase and we predict that 2016 will continue the trend. There’s no question that this type of training is hard. It must be taken very, very slowly so as to avoid injury and it is highly recommended that you either join a class or hire a qualified personal trainer. Expect moves you will have seen before, such as squats, lunges, push ups and planks combined with intense burpees, double unders, handstand push ups and thrusters. Sounds exhausting just saying it, doesn’t it?
Currently reserved for professional athletes, so called smart clothes are set to take 2016 by storm. Experts predict that the clever garments will overtake the sale of fitness trackers owing to its improved technological capability, which provides much more accurate data. Angela McIntyre, a research director at Gartner, a global I.T research company, explains ‘because smartshirts and other smartgarments can hold more sensors closer to the skin, they can collect more information and produce better data, like the full wave of the heart beat rather than just the pulse. First-generation smartshirts have been available from companies like Adidas and Underarmour for a while now marketing them to professional athletes, but we’re starting to see interest from regular manufacturers of garments for a much larger audience”. Consumers are already familiar with the basic concept of smart clothing, think for instance smart gloves that allow you to use touchscreens without having to take the gloves off, but smart clothing of the future will be able to accurately measure heart rate, breathing rate and calculate the amount of calories burned. This data will automatically link up to a smartphone app, which will allow the user to keep track of their progress and show them what they need to improve upon.
If you are someone who prefers to do your exercise behind closed doors where no one can see you, then customised online training could be perfect for you. Many professional trainers have cottoned on to the financial opportunities and exposure that publicising a workout program online, for example on You Tube, can give them. What that means for us is that we get access, sometimes for free, to training programs and nutrition plans that can be custom fit to our requirements and have been proven to be more effective than doing class based exercise. There is however, one huge downside that comes with online training and that is that you must be incredibly motivated to keep it up! If you miss a workout, no one’s going to tell you off, if you don’t perform your best, no one’s going to shout at you, so it’s really important that you understand from the beginning that YOU are in charge of making sure you do your best. Online training is already pretty prolific, but we predict that in 2016 it’s popularity will further increase, especially as people look to tighten up the purse strings, yet still want to achieve physical perfection. It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you are self-motivated and want a diverse fitness program then online training would make the perfect new years resolution for 2016.
Most fitness fanatics will already be taking some form of supplement to boost their workout, build and repair muscle and to provide essential nutrients, however more and more people are beginning to notice that certain supplements are no longer as effective as they once were. In some cases, it is because a person may have been taking a supplement for so long that the body has simply become immune to it, however scientists have recently discovered that there are two molecules, which are virtually impossible to avoid consuming in a normal diet, that are the major culprits. Polyphenols and Triterpenes provide a natural defence mechanism in plants, which prevents insects and bacteria from eating them, sounds pretty harmless, right? Unfortunately, along side this they also block out nutrients, which means when we consume fruit and vegetable with high levels of these molecules, any supplements we take will lose their potency. So what can be done about it? Research is already underway to develop supplements that counteract these molecules and 2016 is likely to see a surge in this type of product. Supplement makers have hired teams of researchers, who have established that by adding phytosomes to their formulas it adds a small layer of fat around the molecules. This not only prevents certain molecules from doing things they shouldn’t, but also aids their absorption into the body to ensure that what they are doing is to put to good use.
Combine online fitness training with a healthy dose of competitiveness and what you get is fitness gaming. We’ve already had gaming technology, such as the Wii Fit and the XBox 360 Kinect, but things are rapidly moving on and 2016 is set to see the release of the virtual reality gaming system, PlayStation VR/Project Morpheus. At the moment the finer details are still very much hush hush and although the first batch of games set to be released are most likely to be just that (games), we predict that it won’t be too long before the fitness industry are keen to get in on the act. Consisting of a black curved visor, with white, LED-illuminated edging and bone conduction headphone technology in the headband, the PlayStation VR/Project Morpheus is light, comfortable, hands free and unrestrictive making it the perfect fitness gaming accessory.
Kevin Tillman, a senior research analyst says, “In the past two years, we’ve seen fitness gaming nearly double in terms of usage. By making fitness more of a competitive game, you give consumers a compelling reason to exercise more often over time. They begin to think about exercising as getting to the ‘next level’ in real life by reshaping their bodies.” There aren’t many people who don’t love a bit of competition, especially when it’s with themself!
Another development in the world of fitness gaming is the Immersive Exercise Pod (IEP). These futuristic pods allow gamers to fully engage in their exercise experience by combining a Lifecycle recumbent bike with Lifescape virtual environments, motion control software, HD displays, and gaming application. This means when the user is pedalling, they not only have a choice of visual landscape to view before them, but also experience the shakes, rumbles and feel of the terrain beneath their bike, the sounds of native virtual wildlife and best of all the natural aromas from that particular landscape, for example the smell of the sun baked earth or a meadow of spring flowers. At present the IEP is still just a concept, but one that is highly likely to reach production and completely change the environment we exercise in.
As you can see, huge changes are occurring in the world of fitness and all with the same goal of improving the way we work out to achieve the optimum level of fitness and to give us a body that has been sculpted and toned beyond recognition. What’s next, I hear you ask? Well one things for sure and that is new technology will continue to be invented, science will continue to uncover new medical advancements and humans will continue to lust after a body that is frankly verging on the robotic.
What do you think?
Let us know what you think the future holds for fitness and whether new technology and smart equipment is a good thing or should we all just get off our backsides and go out for a run in the fresh air?