Fitness trends gain traction very easily, and it’s no surprise; one promise of “lose weight fast” and many people want to try it at least once. What if this one is the one that works?
But a lot of these fads tend to be, well, a bit weird. Half of that strangeness goes hand-in-hand with the idea that it will help you lose weight quicker than anything else – “you’ve never tried a twerking fitness class before, so how do you know it won’t work?”
Here, we take a look at some of this decade’s fitness fads. Did any of them actually work?
Running without shoes
2010 was the year when runners wanted to embrace nature. Specifically, via their feet — barefoot, or “natural” running became the in-thing.
Practitioners claimed that running trainers and shoes were restrictive on the foot, making for a higher injury rate. It’s also said that running barefoot strengthens the tiny muscles found in feet, ankles and legs which can also reduce the risk of injury.
The trend has faded out somewhat now. Experts have said that switching to barefoot running without properly transitioning makes you prone to injuries. Plus, there’s been numerous reports of horrible happenings to barefoot runners, including parasitic infections like cutaneous larva migrans, tungiasis, and fungal infections.
High heeled workouts
For a fitness fad, high heels have actually received a good amount of scientific support. Research has suggested that just walking in high-heels (below three inches) can shape the calves and improve muscle tone and shape.
From squats to lunges, high heels add an extra level of difficulty and balance to these moves. It hasn’t been fully determined whether wearing high-heels for a workout can result in weight loss, but it can help you learn how to walk better in them.
Extra sweaty workouts
This next trend found popularity in Los Angeles and New York. “Hot barre” involves doing classical ballet moves in a room heated to 40 degrees and it took off around 2015. Advocates of the fad say that hot barre encourages you to gain a deeper stretch while helping you release toxins and feel detoxed. Then, as the body has to work hard to cool itself down, you can expect your metabolism to boost and number of burnt calories to increase.
The increase is minimal though. Self reported on the matter, noting that while heated room will cause an increase in burned calories, the profit for all that forced sweating is a measly 35 more calories in a 45 minute session. For perspective, a single Jaffa Cake has 45 calories.
The fad has spread to other exercises too; yoga, long loved for its reputation for easing arthritis pain and joint troubles, now has a ‘hot yoga’ variation.
Health for the world
This year’s fitness fad comes in the form of plogging. It’s a Scandinavian based trend that encourages people to pick up litter while out running — improving health and the environment.
From the Swedish phrase ‘plokka upp’, meaning ‘pick up’, the exercise combines fitness and eco-friendliness. The exercise part comes from running with intermittent squatting and lunging so you can pick up rubbish from the ground. It is an effective calorie burner too — fitness app Lifesum estimates that a typical user will burn 288 calories from 30 minutes of plogging. If you’re new to jogging in general, pace yourself and remember to warm up and cool down properly afterwards. Keep a few pain relief gels handy in case of any soreness afterwards and keep hydrated.
It’s been a hit on social media too, with ploggers posting selfies of them setting off to jog and clean. Could we see this trend become widespread sometime soon?
Who knows what the next fitness fad will be. But then, half the fun is being surprised by them!