In her latest fitness tips article Kate Cracknell marks your wellbeing card.
This month we take a look at the trends that are set to shape the way we approach our fitness and wellbeing.
1 – Yin and yang
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has been such a buzzword over recent years, and remains a great way to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals. But as with all things, moderation is key. Indeed, the latest advice is that we shouldn’t spend more than 30–40 minutes a week in our highest heart rate zone (over 90% of maximum heart rate); any more than this leads to diminishing returns, reduced performance and higher risk of injury. Make sure you balance high-intensity work with complementary activities such as strength training and mind-body classes.
2 – Fit for life
More and more people appreciate Functional training’s role in developing strength and fitness that’s applicable to real life scenarios. It works your body in all the forms and planes of movement it naturally has to use on a daily basis. Combining cardiovascular work with bodyweight training and exercises that use special functional equipment – from medicine balls to boxing bags to battle ropes – functional training doesn’t only get you fit. It gets you fit for life.
3 – Tension release
For those with sedentary jobs, stretching mitigates the effects of limited movements, compromised positions and repetitive actions. For those who are active, it optimizes performance, restores the body and brings it back into pain-free balance.
When offering fitness tips we explain that flexibility training is also a great starting point if you’re just setting out on your wellbeing journey, increasing your range of movement and allowing you to exercise and build strength safely.
The trend that’s really catching on is what’s known as fascial release. It sounds complicated, but in fact it can be as simple as using a foam roller to release areas of tension in our body before we start a workout, allowing us to move efficiently and without pain so we get the most out of each workout – as well as helping us move more freely in our everyday lives.
4 – Conscious breathing
Breathing properly – by which we mean deep, diaphragmatic breathing rather than shallow breathing into your chest – has a wide range of proven health benefits, from reduced anxiety to detoxification of the body.
Focusing on breathing while you exercise is also important, and not only in classes like yoga and Pilates where it’s emphasised throughout every move. Indeed, adopting the correct breathing techniques can ensure you get the best results from every workout you do.
5 – Mental health
Mental health is receiving huge coverage in the media at the moment – the importance of it, but also the prevalence of mental health issues even among those who outwardly seem fine. With this, we’re reaching a tipping point where our rationale for exercise may start to switch, or at the very least broaden.
That’s thanks to a growing body of evidence which shows how exercise can not only offer an immediate feelgood factor – that rush of mood-lifting endorphins we get after a workout – but also help prevent, and even treat, depression.
We don’t expect people to abandon fitness and weight-loss goals. However, going forward we can expect to see people exercising just as much for their mental health – for how being active makes them feel inside – as for their physical health. This chimes perfectly with our approach to wellbeing at Aspria: one in which we focus on holistic health, and where exercise is just one part of the jigsaw.