Top 4 Fitness Trends For 2020

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An athlete using her bodyweight in circuit training which is one of the top fitness trends for this year.

It’s a new year, and with that comes new resolutions and goals. The most common goals tend to focus on personal fitness, such as losing weight, training for a marathon and becoming more flexible. This isn’t anything new though, considering that fitness is a $100 billion global industry and individuals are focusing on their health and wellness now more than ever!

With a variety of fitness trends out there, accomplishing these goals is more accessible, easier, and not to mention ultra-important, considering most of us have sedentary lifestyles. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a multitude of health conditions, including certain cardiovascular diseases, becoming overweight or obese, a decrease in skeletal muscle mass, and much more. To help fend off these harmful effects and keep you motivated, we’ve rounded up the top four fitness trends predicted by experts for 2020!  

Functional Fitness

You’ve probably heard this term before, but what exactly is functional fitness? Functional fitness workouts are designed to help with everyday activities (i.e. carrying groceries, vacuuming, shoveling, bending over to pick up a ball) and utilize your muscles and joints together to accomplish just that. The main focus for this type of workout is to maintain or improve quality of life. The act of multiple muscles and joints working together is known as a compound movement, which requires balance and coordination. Functional fitness also emphasizes the core, since it’s an integral component for movement, stabilization and of course, everyday life. 

Many popular workouts also incorporate aspects of functional fitness exercises, such as yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and tai chi. Here are some examples of functional fitness exercises that use multiple planes of movement (forward and backward, side-to-side and rotation). These exercises can be done using bodyweight or free weights, like dumbbells, medicine balls, and kettlebells:

  • Push-up
  • Lateral lunge
  • Squats
  • Bent-over row
  • Deadlift 
  • Medicine ball rotational throw

There are many benefits to functional fitness, including improving the function of your body (building muscle strength and stability), flexibility and posture. Functional fitness also reduces the risk of injury. For example, an athlete training for a marathon can use functional fitness to strengthen their muscles and ligaments (which are prone to stress and injury), reducing the risk of injury. 

The great thing about functional fitness is that it’s for everyone - from the average person to elite athletes.

Active Recovery

We all know the importance of recovery after working out, whether you workout to maintain your fitness level or you’re a high-level athlete. Taking time to recover is important for muscles to repair, rebuild and strengthen, and also helps the body replenish energy levels and damaged tissues. It can be a dangerous habit to skip recovery, something that is especially common in athletes who always want to improve their performance levels. 

When an athlete doesn’t take enough time to recover, it can lead to overtraining syndrome. When an athlete creeps into this dangerous territory, they may experience a lack of energy, mild leg soreness, insomnia, headaches, irritability, depression and a decreased appetite. Ultimately, overtraining and not taking time to recover actually backfires and can decrease an athlete’s performance levels.

Oftentimes when we hear this type of advice, we think that taking a “rest day” means doing nothing (i.e. passive recovery), when in fact, rest days should be about active recovery and not sitting on your couch watching Netflix all day! Active recovery is especially important for those performing heavy workouts, participating in athletic events, such as a marathon or even those who are injured (sometimes doing nothing actually aggravates an injury, depending on the type). 

Active recovery involves low-intensity exercise, examples include 

  • Yoga
  • Walking 
  • Swimming
  • Cycling at a low resistance
  • Self-care practices that involve using a tennis ball or foam roller to perform self-massage are also considered part of an active recovery routine.  

Active recovery has numerous benefits, including a decrease in post-exercise stiffness by reducing lactic acid buildup in the muscles, improving mood, relieving fatigue, and counteracting inflammation by promoting blood flow. It also improves endurance and training by maintaining the heart rate at an even pace. 

The next time you’re recovering from a workout, consider swapping the remote for a walk!  

Express Workouts

An athlete heading out the door to a yoga class (a form of active recovery)

Though quick and efficient workouts aren’t a new concept, now more than ever people are over-scheduled, overbooked and overworked. It’s no wonder that keeping up a healthy habit, like working out, can seem daunting! In fact, lack of time is the number one reason individuals don’t work out. That’s why express workouts are expected to be a top fitness trend in 2020. 

The length of these workouts can vary, but they’re usually 30 minutes or less. Going to the gym, or working out in any capacity doesn’t need to be long and time-consuming - it can actually be quick and efficient! 

Here are some examples of express workouts:

  • Express circuit: 8 minute warmup, 12 minutes of strength training and 10 minutes of cardio
  • Group fitness classes: most gyms offer express workouts you can do during lunch, including Zumba, spinning, yoga and HIIT
  • 30 minutes of cardio: treadmill, jog outside, stationary bike, or elliptical
  • Circuit training, which involves performing different exercises (anywhere from 5-10) that target different muscle groups. An example of a circuit would be having a “station” for each: push-ups, sit-ups, squats, bicep curls, and lunges.   

Benefits of choosing an express workout include boosting your metabolism (especially if you alternate between weights and cardio), having a variety of workout options, and working multiple muscle groups at the same time. It’s also a great option for beginners, as it’s recommended they ease into a routine with shorter workouts. 

The next time you’re in an afternoon slump or feel like you don’t have enough time, try incorporating an express workout into your routine!

Nutritional and Healthy Eating Programs 

While working out and recovery are important aspects of any fitness routine, we can’t overlook the importance of nutrition. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, enhance performance, or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and eating healthy are key. While nutritional and healthy eating programs have been around for awhile, they’re gaining even more popularity in 2020. No matter the workout or sport, what you feed your body impacts your performance and is especially important for athletes before a big game. 

Nutritional and healthy eating programs include adopting healthy practices, such as eliminating smoking, eating well and consuming less alcohol. The main goal is well-being in all aspects of life, not just in the gym. It also doesn’t mean going on a “fad diet” for a quick fix. Adopting a nutritional and healthy eating program can involve:

  • Reducing sugar intake
  • Emphasizing fruits and vegetables
  • Knowing what works well for your body (i.e. dairy, gluten intolerance)
  • Making sure you’re getting enough hydration
  • Noticing how your eating habits make you feel. For example do you feel energized, lethargic, content, anxious, etc.? 

Benefits of adopting a nutritional and healthy eating program include maintaining a healthy weight, warding off disease, improving your immune system, increasing vascular function, having more energy, sleeping better and much more! 

It’s important to remember with nutrition and fitness trends that there’s no “one size fits all”. Different bodies require different things based on goals, preferences and the ability to sustain habits long-term, so it’s important to listen to your body’s needs and consult a professional if you need guidance. 

When athletes incorporate these fitness trends, it’s important for sports medicine professionals to track injuries, treatments, health status and more with an Athlete Electronic Health Record (EHR) like Presagia Sports. Easy-to-use and secure solutions like these enable sports medicine professionals to help manage their athlete’s performance and recovery, so they can do their best.

Please note that we are not nutrition or fitness experts, and you should always consult a qualified professional on what’s best for you.