Fitness Trends That Will Shape 2021 

Fitness Trends
Fitness Trends

As we look back on 2020, we will remember how our routines evolved to adapt to our new normal – especially our fitness regimes. With gyms shuttered, we pivoted to online workout classes, embraced outdoor exercise, and redefined how we stayed fit. We also welcomed restorative fitness – programs that helped our bodies and minds and provided necessary relaxation from a challenging year. In 2021 we can expect to see many of the 2020 fitness changes become the norm. 

We will see more people exercising at home versus a crowded gym, emphasizing mental fitness and a growing number of technology tools to help power our routines, whether at home, work, or on the road.

Exercise Classes and Equipment

The popularity of on-demand and subscription-based fitness programs skyrocketed in 2020 and will continue to flourish in 2021. In addition to the ease and accessibility of anytime-anywhere programs, many have also developed a dedicated userbase that’s forged virtual communities to support and motivate its members. These communities attract users who miss and thrive from the comradeship found at in-person fitness studios. Subscription-based fitness programs will continue to boom over the next year, with more variety in the types of classes and content offered, providing fitness enthusiasts with more personalized options tailored to their specific interests and goals.

Demand for at-home fitness equipment has never been higher, with some companies reporting huge sales increases, and frequent order delays on exercise equipment in the last year, the demand will likely continue far into 2021. This might be more than a fleeting trend. Equipment doesn’t have to break the bank either; many have been extremely innovative and resourceful in using items they have at home to elevate their workouts, or even getting some moves in while doing chores around the house. Even with the new vaccines rolling out, renewed stay-at-home orders and concerns about the cleanliness and safety of returning to in-person fitness studios will continue, making at-home, personal fitness equipment a go-to for the foreseeable future.

Fitness Solutions for Monotony and Stress

With many Americans still working from home, there’s an increased amount of free time and boredom. The stress of being cooped indoors has many turning to nature for fitness and a much-needed mental break. Outdoor activities like hiking or running with guided app assistance programs are increasing in popularity and will continue to trend in the new year. 

Americans are also craving some good old-fashioned fun, which is why nostalgic outdoor activities like roller skating are growing in popularity. Not only is roller skating an excellent workout for your legs and glutes– it’s super fun! Roller skates are such a hot commodity that manufacturers reportedly struggle to meet overwhelming demand – reporting limited stock, high sellout rates, and extensive backorders.

The pandemic effects have left many struggling emotionally, which is why a growing number of people have turned to yoga and meditation to strengthen both body and mind. Many fitness-focused apps and Herbalife Nutrition Fitness offer meditation and yoga sessions, and in 2021 there will be an uptick of mental health and wellness apps and classes in these categories across fitness apps and beyond. According to Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, mindfulness apps can help with loneliness, depression and anxiety — all made worse by the pandemic. 

Employees have long enjoyed the perk of workplace wellness programs, but in 2021, these programs will go from a nice to have to a core part of team well-being. In addition to supporting employee exercise programs, there will be a greater interest in mental health. We can also expect companies to continue seeking mental health help for their work force.

As a former competitive sprinter and lifelong fitness educator, staying active is in my DNA. Each year brings fitness trends that offer new ways or a return to familiar favorites to keep in shape. Last year taught us many lessons, one of which is that maintaining healthy habits such as exercise and a balanced diet is one of the best things people can do for themselves. Good health includes keeping our bodies moving, and now there are more options to take classes anytime and anywhere from the comfort of your home, office, or hotel room. Staying fit also means keeping mentally fit and finding ways to relax, breathe and unwind from stress. We are all hopeful that 2021 will be a year of hope and with so many ways to stay in shape – perhaps a year of incredible fitness.


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