What’s Shaping Us: Trends in Fitness 2024

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We’ve opened every gift, welcomed the New Year and packed away the tinsel, but the holiday season may have taken its toll on our body and mind.

Don’t worry. With the start of a new year, most of us are ready to get back on track with our health and well-being, and the fitness industry always provides us with an array of exercise choices. Some of the latest fitness trends can keep us on our toes well into the months ahead.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
A mixed martial art that can double as self-defense training, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ, is a martial art that can allow a smaller, weaker person to successfully defend themselves against a larger, stronger attacker. Known as the “gentle art,” BJJ has been popularized as a competitive sport, but it’s also an effective form of self-defense that can be used by anyone. Jiu-Jitsu focuses on taking the fight to the ground and applying chokeholds or joint locks to defeat the opponent. Women who have taken BJJ can experience a variety of health benefits including more self-confidence, an increase in general strength, mental toughness and situational awareness.

Muay Thai
Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is the national sport of Thailand that combines some self-defense moves with boxing. Developed hundreds of years ago as a form of close combat, Muay Thai used the entire body as a weapon. As exercise today, Muay Thai is a full-body workout that conditions the heart, tones muscles and challenges the mind by engaging the core while delivering punches, kicks, knees and elbows. Muay Thai is also known as the “art of eight limbs,” since participants can strike using fists, feet, knees and elbows (four x two = eight limbs). Look for Muay Thai in local fitness centers or try kickboxing gyms to see if they offer a class for beginners.

Sustainable Exercise
As more and more people become environmentally conscious, fitness routines that use eco-friendly exercise are gaining ground in 2024. Activities such as trail running, hiking and biking, which connect individuals with nature, are popular with fitness enthusiasts of all levels and offer an outdoor program that makes us feel good in more ways than one. By choosing low-impact workouts or energy-efficient equipment, we can reduce the environmental effects of our fitness routines. Eco-friendly gyms equipped with sustainable equipment (think manual treadmills instead of motorized ones) are also emerging. And if we’re walking, cycling or using public transportation to get to the gym, then we’re doubling down on the physical and environmental benefits.

Training Virtually
Virtual workouts, both group style and individual sessions, gained even more popularity post pandemic. Not only is the virtual workout eco-friendly, but people can work out with a certified trainer and never have to leave home. Online training sessions allow fitness experts to provide live instruction to anyone with a webcam, laptop and internet connection. While private or one-on-one sessions offer a little more flexibility and customization, group sessions enable people to participate in exercise classes at their convenience (with friends or strangers), as well as provide a cheaper option than private workouts.

Home Gyms That Actually Get Used
Home gyms, which also surged during the pandemic, will continue to evolve in 2024. Look for more accessible and affordable fitness equipment such as smart mirrors and modular workout systems as well as more compact equipment for smaller spaces. Ongoing technological innovations will help home exercisers create efficient home workout spaces specialized to their individual goals.

Tech + Health + AI
The merger of health, fitness and technology is exciting and extremely valuable for fitness enthusiasts. Wearables and health-tracking apps can monitor physical activity and health measurements such as body movement, heart rhythm and sleep quality. Artificial intelligence and data analytics will also play a crucial role in influencing the wellness landscape in 2024. Evolving technology will enable fitness professionals and enthusiasts to gain valuable insights into their performance, track progress and make informed decisions about their overall wellness plan.

Combo Classes
Just like Muay Thai, group fitness classes that combine two different fitness formats can offer more challenge and variety for the ultimate workout. There’s nothing like joining kickboxing with strengthening or yoga with cardio to use muscles differently. People are busy, and this timesaving, multi-tasking workout can get us into shape quicker, while allowing our muscles to recover, giving less chance of injury for the workouts ahead.

Reuse and Recycle
Eventually, everything old becomes new again. As with fashion, popular fitness trends come and go, and sometimes they come back again. Tried and true equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals will never go out of style; kettlebells and dumbbells are seeing more exercise time since they’re being used for new workouts. Now, let’s get out there and open the door to 2024!

Sources: bcbjj.org, acefitness.org, medium.com, tigermuaythai.com and livestrong.com.