Jürg Widmer Probst exercise trends

9 exercise trends to take us through lockdown and beyond

Last year was a time of change and transformation across work, leisure and pretty much every aspect of our lives. And for the health and fitness industry it was no different.


With gyms, fitness classes and personal trainer sessions all abruptly cancelled due to lockdown, we all had to get online. Studios began to offer virtual fitness classes, personal trainers became acquainted with Zoom and virtual marathons replaced the likes of the London Marathon.


Exercise trends such as running became hugely popular during lockdown


With little to do but work at home and exercise, running became very popular. Between March and June 2020, the NHS app ‘Couch to 5k’ was downloaded more than 850,000 times. Joe Wickes became the family favourite with his online PE lessons and home fitness equipment sold out everywhere.


In March 2021, we’re still in lockdown in the UK and the virus is still very much with us. And while there is some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the vaccination rollout and the potential of lockdown easing completely by mid-June, how exactly is this impacting fitness trends?


We’ve all tested our resilience throughout 2020 and, whatever happens, we know that we can find new ways to exercise and keep fit regardless of lockdown or the pandemic. Here are some of the fitness trends that I think will become this year’s favourites.


9 favourite exercise trends that will only get more popular in 2021

  1. Exercising outside

Whether you’re walking, jogging, running, cycling or swimming, chances are you’ll be doing it outside in nature. Enforced lockdowns with restrictions on outdoor exercise have shown us all just how important it is to our mental and physical health to immerse ourselves in nature regularly.


Try new hiking routes or head to the coast for a bit of sea swimming (if it’s in your local vicinity of course), or just head out for a long walk. Even if you only exercise outdoors for half an hour every day, this will help to make you feel less stressed and improve your general wellbeing.


  1. Even bigger virtual challenges

Online fitness challenges are perfect to get you motivated. I think more people will hurl themselves into all kinds of virtual races. From running a 5km to a marathon or cycling longer distances. There are also much smaller online challenges you can easily incorporate into your routine, such as those based on sit-ups or pull-ups.


If you don’t fancy a formal online challenge, just set your own. Decide that you’re going to beat your personal best at the 10k, for example. Or that you’ll run 50 miles a week. Whatever it is, a challenge can help you focus and keep fit.


  1. Flexible fitness classes mixed with virtual training

Working out online is probably very familiar to you by now. So, it’s time to step it up. Plan your own programme using whatever apps, online plans and personal trainers you like. Now we know how it all works, we can craft the ideal fitness plan for our personal needs. Apps like FIIT can help you create personalised workouts, for example. Many of these apps offer all kinds of coaching, training, community support and ways to monitor your growing fitness.


  1. One-on-one personal training via Zoom

Personal trainers of all descriptions are now offering comprehensive training over Zoom. They’re all set up to help you either begin your fitness journey or get to the next level. Book a consultation and see how well it can work for you.


  1. Practising digital mindfulness

We all live online now. And while working, socialising and even seeing your doctor online has become the norm, we must now take steps to be mindful of our digital life. Create new tech habits and ensure that you take time away from the screen. We must increase our presence in the offline world as much as the virtual world. Incorporate offline time into your daily schedule in a mindful and purposeful way.


  1. Virtual therapy sessions for mental fitness

Anxiety and depression levels have soared during the pandemic. And we all know it’s just important to keep mentally heathy as well as physically fit. Counsellors and therapists have moved online, and virtual therapy is now accessible and often more affordable. Talking therapy is hugely beneficial if you are suffering from anxiety, a low mood, are struggling to deal with a specific trauma or for many other reasons.


  1. Trying natural anxiety remedies

Many people are dealing with higher levels of anxiety right now. Exercising regularly is a good way to keep it under control, but there are also plenty of natural treatments available too. These range from CBD products to nootropics and all kinds of natural remedies.


  1. Global exercise classes

For those of us who lived for the gym and enjoyed the social aspect of fitness classes, pandemic isolation is difficult to deal with. Luckily, this year offers even more virtual reality and AI-based ways to join others in your quest for fitness. For example, you can join in online HIIT classes in Australia or use BitGym to transport you to other virtual worlds.


  1. Practising micro meditation

Meditation and mindfulness are nothing new, but if you’ve never practiced before they can seem daunting. Micro-meditation is a different way to approach mindfulness. By incorporating mini meditations throughout your day, you will reap the benefits. Start with a 20 minute fully mindful walk in the morning, breathing mindfully while showering and taking regular breaks to check in with yourself throughout the working day.

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