For those who shudder at the thought of merciless, high-intensity training, here’s bringing you HILIT – High Intensity Low Impact Training. This workout is easier on your joints, but still packed with fat-burning, heart-pumping moves that achieve quick results. Although this workout style isn’t very new, it has recently gained popularity. It’s meant especially for those who are already living a high-stress lifestyle, so as not to further elevate their cortisol levels with intense training sessions. Classes typically last 50 minutes, and include resistance bands, water rowing, barre, animal-inspired moves and core-strengthening activities. No running, jumping and heavy weights here, to spare the body injury and excessive fatigue.
Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is a new trend that has gripped the fitness industry, and is getting rave reviews to boot. This sport originates from physiotherapy, where exercisers are given low-frequency electrical impulses while they carry out an intense, whole-body workout. The electrical stimulation awakens the muscles that are normally ignored by conventional exercise methods. Sessions last just 20 minutes but have the effects of a longer workout and only need to be done once a week. While carrying out a mix of dynamic and static movements, electrical impulses are transferred to the body via electrodes, controlled by an EMS device. EMS is said to decrease body fat, tighten the skin, fight cellulite and can help recover from or prevent back problems.
Strength Training is not new jargon in the fitness world, but has made a come-back as a trend in recent times. The term refers to any exercise which involves movement of weight (including body weight) to push the muscles to rebuild stronger than before. The secret is progressive overload, which will encourage the muscles to constantly adapt and rebuild themselves, by exerting slightly more pressure than the previous workout. Health coaches and personal trainers are urging gym bunnies to ditch the boredom of cardio and embrace this method to zap fat, build muscle, tone up and become stronger than ever, besides giving the body a host of other health benefits.
Move over spinning; rowing machines (also called ergometers) are getting more attention than before, for their ability to offer a low-impact exercise that can be done by almost anyone. It can be one of the most effective pieces of cardio equipment at the gym. Each stroke on the machine gives a complete body workout, engaging 85 per cent of your muscles, across nine major muscle groups; 30 minutes of rowing revs up the body, spikes heart rate and burns up to 300 kcal. Also check out Dragon Boating, for a fun, outdoor alternative.
Kick Boxing is a cardio workout that can get addictive, increasing your strength, coordination and confidence in the process. This umbrella term actually encompasses the art of kick-boxing from various Asian regions – Muay Thai, from Thailand, is most popular. There’s also Yaw Yan from the Philippines, Lethwei from Myanmar and Pradal Serey from Cambodia. However, all these are simply a practice, not a tournament, aimed at stirring up your exercise routine, boosting energy and reducing stress.
Wearable gadgets and smart clothing are gaining traction in 2020, with more people taking their health more seriously. The market has a plethora of updated and improved smart watches and fitness trackers, that allow enthusiasts to gain access to their fitness metrics easily, at the touch of a finger. It’s also a great way to manage chronic diseases, improve exercise efficiency, and have a better quality of life.
Smart clothing has also made waves in lifestyle. Nadi X yoga pants are vibrating leggings whose sensors keep you informed on proper alignment during poses, and Under Armour’s Athlete Recovery clothing absorbs heat from the body and reflects it back onto the wearer’s skin as energy that is said to encourage better muscle recovery and enhance relaxation.
If motivation is your excuse for not getting onto the fitness bandwagon, turn to your smart phone. A great fitness app is your one-stop shop – set realistic goals, be reminded to do your bit for your body every day, monitor your diet, get guided workout schedules and track your progress. Find an app that you can personalise exercise routines on, suited to your needs and goals, and that also allows you to connect with friends and family with the same goals. Need a more in-person exercise experience? Sign up for live workout sessions to interact with workout communities without needing to leave the house.
Integrated health coaches are recognising that people don’t pay enough attention to their core foundation before they attempt to undertake ‘getting fit’. Experienced trainers are now urging us to become more aware of the importance of first building a foundation with low-impact workouts that protect the joints and prevent injury, before resorting to fancier options as a quick-fix, or to burn the most calories possible. They say that building a strong core is key to reaping the benefits from more concentrated exercises in the future.
Holistic health coaches are urging us to stop the number crunching – calories, inches, kilograms, steps, and what not. With increasing awareness about all-round health and well-being, the focus has turned to how you feel – rather than if you have made the numbers – and more on one’s overall state of health, instead of six-pack abs. Fitness is a revamped idea that comprises the mind and body, looking beyond counting calories, to consider essentials like quality sleep, blood pressure and sugar intake, stress levels and self-care.
Gone are the days when meditation was only meant for the yoga mat. More and more instructors are incorporating this practice after mainstream workouts, thanks to all the evidence pointing to its benefits. As we get busier and busier with life, it’s essential to decompress and ‘get in touch’ with the self; meditation is a chance to do just that. So, a short bout of high intensity exercise followed by 15 minutes of mindfulness can bring on increased inner peace, compassion, gratitude and joy – just what we need more of in 2020.