2015 was a year where we saw more people pursue active lifestyles in Southeast Asia - a definite good sign! While new gyms, fitness classes and bootcamps continually popped up throughout the year, the question is, where will the fitness culture in Southeast Asia be heading in 2016?
1. Community-supported workouts
Older generations have been meeting in parks to socialise and exercise for years. This is especially prevalent in Chinese communities where they meet at sunrise to practice Qi Gong, Tai Chi or dance classes.
Although these styles are often viewed by the younger generations as “uncool,” new communities have been created around activities such as Slackline, AcroYoga and Bar-Workout Jams. Essentially, these fitness communities are all about getting a group of people together to have fun over a sweat. Given that our modern day careers often require us to work indoors and in isolation, joining these communities isn’t just great for our fitness - they’re also great for lightening up our mood.
2. Fitness as the “third place”
Established as a global trend by the Spafinder Wellness Inc, gyms and workout places have now become the “third place” for many people to spend their time (after work and home). This should be a surprise though as gyms provide a central place to meet up with friends, and it feels natural to do other activities such as eating out before or after a workout. Aside from becoming a part of everyday life, this shows that we are moving away from an “I run alone on the treadmill” mentality of working out, and moving towards fitness being an activity to be performed with others. And as we already know, working out with a training partner is an effective way to accelerate our improvement.
3. Strong is the new sexy
While “skinny” has long been a sign of “sexy,” times are changing with fit women and nicely defined muscles becoming more desirable. Aside from being more natural and aesthetically pleasing, having a strong body is good for our health. So instead of forcing yourself to follow a crazy diet just to lose weight, do yourself a favour by hitting the gym!
4. The shorter the better
People often say that they don’t have time to exercise because their career commitments take up so much of their week. But the truth is, you don’t actually need all that much time to work out, especially if you do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Yes, HIIT has been around for a while, however shorter versions like “the 12-Minute Workout,” or even 7-minute home workouts have become more popular in recent times. While these mini-workouts may not turn you into an athlete, some high intensity exercise is far better than doing none at all.
5. Tracking (and sharing) our healthy lifestyles
As mentioned in our nutrition trends article, there is a trend towards automatically tracking everything that affects our health - from the food we eat to the hours we sleep to how we did in our workouts. They say that knowledge is power, and there will be a plethora of apps available to help us gather the data we need to optimise our health and wellbeing! Of course, we will still want to share our journey on social media too! There's tons of free apps out there for you to try - from those that cover the basic essentials such as Fitnet, and quirky ones like Zombies, Run 3 to get your blood pumping. Here are some to help get you started!
6. Health service providers will come to you
Due to time limitations, everything will get sent home. We’ve already seen this with healthy food delivery services, however this trend will extend to other services like hair stylists, personal trainers, physiotherapists and more. It’s only a matter of time until we see platforms which enable people to “order a personal trainer". In the meantime, PurelyB has got you covered with our 21-Day Kickstart to a Healthier Lifestyle and 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge health programmes! It's perfect for those who lead busy, hectic lifestyles, and the programmes include meal-deliveries along with wellbeing tips and fitness guides that can be done in the comfort of your own home, too.
7. A shift back to nature
Many doctors are now prescribing natural remedies due to their amazing and proven health benefits. One to watch out for in particular is “forest bathing” - an activity which has been prevalent in Japan for years, and has been identified as a 2016 global trend by Spafinder. With this shift back to nature in play, we’ll also see more people looking to participate in outdoor sports such as SUP (Stand Up Paddling), SUP Yoga (yoga on a board in the water), outdoor yoga, kayaking, climbing, slacklining and more.
8. Less is more
Although gyms offer a wide array of equipment options, the last few years has seen more people using less equipment to stay in shape. This move back to basics makes sense as at the end of the day, all we really need to work out is our own body. We’ll also see personal trainers jump on the “less is more” bandwagon by keeping workouts simple and using their client’s body weight to strengthen and shape up.
9. Functional movements
We’ve always wanted to be sexy, toned and slim, and it seems that this won’t be changing anytime soon. However, what we define as sexy, toned and slim, and how we will go about achieving it, will. We’ll be doing away with the traditional six-pack abs look in favour of a strong and toned body that can perform daily tasks effectively. Ironically, six-pack abs normally comes part and parcel with having a strong body! To achieve this, there will be a much larger focus on full-body exercises (think planks and mountain climbers) that strengthen multiple muscles simultaneously. Rather than working out to have “Hollywood muscles” (e.g. doing bicep curls) that only result in bigger muscles (and muscular imbalances if done incorrectly), the goal will be to feel stronger.
10. More classes will emerge
New classes emerge every year to cater to spice up our workout routines. While last year’s “hot classes” were CrossFit, fly yoga, Zumba and pole dancing, 2016 will see piloxing, bokwa, hydrospinning, eccentrics and disco-like classes gain popularity in the public domain. Keep in mind that there are no “perfect classes.” Simply try out a variety of different classes with several different instructors to find out what is fun and effective for you.
Overall, the global fitness trends are pointing towards a back to basics “pure” fitness regimen. And we’re all in favour of that! So now it’s over to you - which of these trends will you be jumping onto?