Fitness trends: The hottest ways to workout in 2022

From wearable technology to outdoor exercise, fitness trends in 2022 favour smarter, more accessible and mindful ways to train.

There’s no doubt Covid-19 has changed the way we live, work and play.

And with interest in exercise and health on the rise, new research suggests some interesting fitness trends are emerging.

Here are some insights into what exercise might look like as we move into 2022.

Spec up on your wearable tech

We’ve been into wearable fitness gadgets for a while now, and the interest is only going to grow, according to an industry survey by the Australian Institute of Fitness.

Wearable technology topped the survey rankings for the second year in a row, and industry experts believe we’re still learning to appreciate the capability of health and fitness wearables and how to apply them to our training.

Whether it’s Apple watches, Garmin devices or apps that track training progress in real time and help you virtually train with friends – these innovations are the way of the future.

“Health and fitness wearables continue to experience rapid growth,” Australian Institute of Fitness chief executive Steve Pettit said in the survey report.

“As such, their popularity will likely continue to grow next year as the technology further evolves and consumers become more adept at utilising all they have to offer.”

Get outside – outdoors is where it’s at

It seems being let out of our house to exercise during lockdowns appears to have started a movement – and it’s easy to understand why.

“Nature makes you feel amazing, and people experienced that in 2020 and 2021,” group exercise trainer Kristen Healy says.

“So, now we are allowed out and about, people are finding groups that support exercise outside.”

Mix it up – hybrid routines are the future

With the pandemic pushing more people online than ever before, people are now opting for a mix of in-gym and online training.

“The ability to train remotely and flexibly has gained appeal,” Australian Institute of Fitness general manager of training Brodie Hicks says.

“It’s likely we’ll increasingly see fitness establishments roll out hybrid offerings with a mix of in-gym, virtual live and on-demand products.”

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is still it

Exercise programs that use bursts of high-intensity exercise for short periods remain popular.

“People find they get results with HIIT, and you don’t need a lot of time,” exercise physiologist Jacquie Azizi says.

“It’s just so much more time-effective.”

Get your head in the game – Train your mind with your body

With mental health now a top priority, people are incorporating meditation and mindfulness into their physical workout.

As well as yoga and Pilates, common techniques include deep breathing while stretching, centring yourself while pounding the pavement, and meditating during your cool-down.

Short, sharp, effective – hello micro workouts

If you’re strapped for time, it’s handy to know even a little bit of exercise is worthwhile.

Just three minutes per week of intense intermittent exercise can lead to stronger bones and cardiometabolic health.

“These short, high-intensity workouts are a great way to disrupt your regular routine and combat the health hazard of prolonged stillness,” Brodie says.

Ask an expert: Health and wellness coaching

The number of people seeking expert help with health and wellness is surging, according to Australian Institute of Fitness’ head of compliance and training, Kate Kraschnefski.

“Consumers not only want guidance on exercise and fitness but also things like food, goal setting and happiness,” she says.

Feel-good therapy – exercise as medicine is real

The idea that exercise can be used as a therapy for a range of illnesses is gaining momentum in Australia.

Research shows people prescribed endurance, strength, flexibility and balance exercises record a better quality of life.

And experts agree we’re likely to see more collaboration between the fitness and medical industries this year.

“There will also likely be collaboration between medical industry, health care providers and fitness professionals to start serious and consequential work as Australia tries to recover and ‘live with’ the virus.

“This work will arguably be most effective by targeting both general health and mental health,” Kate says.

Written by Alex White.