By Prudence Wade
Sticking to an exercise routine over the winter months is tough. Especially when it feels like you only have a three-hour window of sunlight to work with, the weather’s miserable, and all you want to do is curl up under a blanket – rather than getting yourself to the gym or going for a run.
Spring is now officially upon us, however, which means working out will likely feel a lot easier – and you might be more motivated to get a sweat on and reap all the benefits of moving your body.
Whether your exercise regime has slowed down over winter, or you’re just looking for something new to boost things up, these fitness trends are all set to be huge this spring…
Hop on the air bike
Maybe you’ve mastered the spin bike, or grown bored of your road bike – why not try the air version? Air bikes are loved by pro athletes – and it looks like more of us will be enjoying their benefits this season, particularly as you’ll increasingly see them on the gym floor.
Luke Baden, master trainer and functional fitness programming lead at Fiit (fiit.tv), loves the air bike for its efficiency. “Spin bikes, cycling and running are all lower-body dominant activities,” he explains. “Jumping onto the air bike, you’ll be working almost every muscle in the body, creating a full-body workout like no other. At any one time, one arm is pulling (back and bicep), one arm is pushing (chest and tricep) and each leg is driving the pedal (quads and glutes).”
It’s low-impact, meaning “you are less likely to suffer from repetitive strain injuries, such as shin splints from running”, Baden adds.
Pickleball takes off
David Lloyd Clubs named pickleball as one of its top fitness trends for 2022 – but it’s been so cold and rainy so far, we can’t imagine people have been rushing to get outside to try it. After months of working out in a gym or your front room though, the brightening weather means more of us will be keen to get our endorphins out in the fresh air – which likely means pickleball will finally have its time in the sun.
Described as a hybrid of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, it can be played in singles or doubles, as players hit a perforated ball over a net. As there is less running about than tennis, David Lloyd suggests it’s accessible for more people – and you’ll still find it’s a great cardio workout, while also testing your hand-eye coordination.
Women getting into combat training
Women enjoying boxing and other combat sports isn’t a new thing – we’ve been inspired by boxers like Ramla Ali for years – but KOBOX (koboxboxingclub.com) trainer Aidan Swietochowski suggests it’s going to explode in popularity this spring. KOBOX is already noticing the rise in women enjoying combat training in the UK: of its 85,000 members, 75 per cent are female – and fans include Jourdan Dunn and Cheryl.
For Swietochowski, the reason women will be flocking to boxing classes are numerous. “Boxing is a full-body exercise that is fantastic for your cardiovascular health,” he explains. Not only this, but more and more women are realising boxing “isn’t just about punching things”. Swietochowski continues: “It requires coordination, agility and strength to be the most effective boxer you can be. From hand-eye coordination to footwork, boxing makes you work out your brain while also working out your body.”
Plus, it’s the best way to relieve stress in a controlled environment – and who wouldn’t want that?
Plugging in to workout
Spring is the perfect time to work out outside: the weather is bright and crisp, it’s warm enough to be comfortable, but not so hot that you overheat. “But especially for beginners, it can be hard to know where to start, and to maintain form exercising outside,” says Faisal Abdalla, former celebrity personal trainer and WithU (withutraining.com) fitness coach.
Step forward audio workouts – so you can take your trainer outside and on the move with you, via headphones. “Audio fitness allows for the coach to be in the user’s ear and guide them through their workout, while they immerse themselves in the great outdoors,” says Abdalla.
As more of us head towards hybrid fitness routines – switching our workouts between the gym, home and outdoors – plugging in with an audio workout might be just the thing to get the best of both worlds this spring.