It’s almost impossible to avoid the onslaught of “New Year, New You” content that takes over come January. And along with our intentions to quit frivolous spending and avoid junk food comes perhaps the most popular resolution of all time: Get in shape.
But the truth is that a healthy workout regimen is beneficial no matter what time of year it is. We all know exercise is a key to physical health, but studies show exercise can help mental health, too. A recent survey of over 1,000 Americans conducted by Kelton Global for Planet Fitness found that 47 percent of survey respondents see fitness as a way to reduce daily stress.
But here’s the thing: You won’t work out if you’re bored to tears. So whether you’re looking to break out of a workout rut, or you need a new class to get inspired, keep an eye on these hot fitness trends.
Be Flexible: If you’re a regular in fitness classes you’ve most likely heard an instructor suggest that you “stay for the stretch.” Still, many fitness buffs end up sneaking out of high-intensity workout classes like HIIT or spin without dedicating time to flexibility, strengthening, and recovery, putting themselves at risk. It’s no wonder there’s been a 144 percent increase in injuries linked to high-intensity workouts from 2012 to 2016 compared to 2007 to 2011, according to a 2019 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Enter: the recovery movement. You’ve heard about Tom Brady’s focus on pliability with his TB12 Centers. Now there’s StretchLab, co-owned by former Sports Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Soosie Lazenby. StretchLab opened its first Boston-area location in Wellesley’s Linden Square in December. They offer 25- or 50-minute one-on-one or small group appointments with “flexologists” who use PNF, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, to contract and release your muscles through assisted stretching. The goal is to improve flexibility and range of motion, while also reducing stress and muscle and joint pain. Expect to leave feeling blissed out and limber. StretchLab Wellesley, 200B Linden St. Wellesley, local.stretchlab.com/locations/wellesley
Sweat it out at home: We’ve all heard about the pricey Peloton bike, but nobody can deny the brand has found itself an important niche. Home fitness is one of the biggest trends for 2020, with boutique fitness companies developing their own at-home versions that allow clients to tap into classes digitally without the hassle of heading to the studio. But with Peloton and Flywheel charging a pretty penny for their home bikes, budget-conscious consumers are looking to spin at home — at a friendlier price point. Comb Instagram, and you’ll find plenty of home exercisers who have bought less-expensive stationary bikes or treadmills and jury-rigged a tablet to the front for digital workouts. Some refer to these makeshift creations as “Felotons,” or “Fake Pelotons.” Follow an interactive fitness platform like iFit, which costs $15 per month, or $39 per month for a family plan of up to five people. Of course, if you’re averse to spending anything, you can also find plenty of free workouts available on YouTube. www.ifit.com
On the rebound: If you want a cardio workout but hate to run, consider hopping onto a trampoline, or a rebounder. Sure, it’s something kids do in the backyard during a summer barbecue. But it also happens to be a great workout. In 2016, the American Council on Exercise determined a trampoline workout offers the same benefits of running, without feeling quite so difficult. A burgeoning trend across the country pairs rebounding and resistance exercises for aerobic and strength training. You can bounce your heart out at Barre Groove near Downtown Crossing in their Bounce and Bands class, which combines 25 minutes of heart-pumping rebounding with 20 minutes of resistance-band work, all choreographed to a soundtrack of jams and owner Alanna Perry’s trademark dance moves. Best of all, it’s low impact, which means you get all the benefit of cardio dance without the sore joints. Barre Groove, 52 Province St., Suite 307, barregroove.com/
Make up your mind (and body): Instead of strictly homing in on the body, 2020 promises to take a more comprehensive attitude toward fitness. The focus on overall well-being has never been stronger, with several studios treating exercise as its own form of medicine by combining yoga with guided meditation, relaxation breathing, and even workbook-based approaches to dealing with issues like grief, fear, shame, and guilt. Coolidge Yoga offers “TIMBo: Trauma-Responsive Innovations for Mind and Body,” a 16-week series held on Monday evenings that combines basic moves with mindfulness. If that seems like too much of a commitment, pop into their Wednesday morning meditation class at 7:30 a.m. The half-hour class is $5, or free if you’ve taken the 6:30 a.m. Vinyasa yoga class beforehand. Coolidge Yoga Brookline, 1297 Beacon St., Brookline, coolidgeyoga.com
OK, computer: FitBits, Apple Watches, and heart-rate monitors abound. But it can often feel as if everyone is using wearable tech to highlight the success of their workout — and subsequently share it on social media, of course. Regardless, experts say wearable tech isn’t going anywhere. According to a report by London-based analytics firm GlobalData, the wearable tech industry was worth nearly $23 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach $54 billion by 2023. Boston-area studios are jumping on the trend as well. At BKBX in Allston, clients are equipped with tech to measure heart rate and acceleration, with the goal of determining what level of intensity they’re reaching, and whether they’re working out at optimal level. BKBX Allston, 211 Western Ave., Allston, bkbx.fit/
Megan Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.