How will we be exercising this year? While 2020 and some of 2021 paved the way for at-home workouts, Peloton, walks and outdoor everything, the new year brings with it a new approach to our exercise routines that will help us reach our physical – and most importantly, mental – goals. Below, Vogue takes a look at the fitness trends set to be big in 2022.
You might be able to bend in ways that others find tricky, but are you metabolically flexible? One in four UK adults suffer from metabolic syndrome, or an unhealthy metabolism, which can cause obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Having good metabolic flexibility implies that your body can quickly and efficiently switch between using carbohydrates and fats as its fuel source, which means it is also more easy for you to gain muscle, perform better during workouts, maintain a balanced weight and stay youthful for longer, to name a few of its benefits.
Lumen is a new device that helps you to understand and stay in control of your metabolism. Cleverly, all you have to do is breathe into the handheld device (which is small enough to fit in even the smallest handbags) and it offers insight into what your body is burning, something that top athletes do as a matter of course. It then offers you a guide on what to eat during the day to shift your metabolism into healthy zones.
“Our metabolism has the key to unlock our health and wellness,” agrees NHS doctor Dr Emeka Okorocha. “If we take care of it by making it more flexible, everything else follows – higher energy, weight management and lower blood sugar.”
The whole world and his dog got a bike over lockdown – there was little else to do but cycle for miles during those long weekends – and now the craze is crescendoing with all manner of wheel-based classes. Not just the spinning of days gone by (we still love Psycle and Soulcycle for their feel-good workouts) but now Wattbikes are having a moment to shine. The new Third Space gym in Mayfair has just launched London’s first group Wattbike class for those who want the challenge of road-biking but indoors and with added statistical feedback and a fitness score. At AMP Athletic in London’s Marylebone, air bikes are a common part of most workouts because they offer a full body (and testing) workout that amps up calorie burn. And then, of course, Peloton: those who haven’t yet tried the brand’s spin classes can now trial the Peloton app (which also features other workouts, such as cardio, yoga and strength) for two months, free of charge, in the new year.
Mental health training
Yes, we work out to keep our bodies healthy and strong, but increasingly there is a movement towards ensuring we exercise to boost our mental wellbeing, whether that’s via walking or a more intense HIIT class. Experts have long said that exercise is the best medicine, and now it’s being put into action as GPs are set to start prescribing “judgement-free” exercise classes for women seeking help with depression and diabetes. Boxing is one of the disciplines mentioned (the programme has been designed by Sports England – This Girl Can) which makes sense given it works many of the body’s muscle groups but also helps improve coordination, posture and mood; crucially, it is also a great skill to work on for confidence and many who swear by it attest that it’s the most empowering workout there is – you can expect to feel strong and capable after just one session. Learn the art of professional boxing at JAB, an authentic (yet chic) gym – classes teach you to be your own champion, regardless of what level you’re at.
Quick fixers are out, long-term health is in
What we learned from 18 months (and counting) of a pandemic is that health really is everything. So faddy intense 10-day bootcamps are out in favour of consistent and regular exercise, working with the body’s natural rhythms rather than pounding it into the ground – many of us are suffering chronic stress (and sky high cortisol levels) and working out too intensely or often can exacerbate this. The newly-opened health and wellbeing club, Coach London, in Mayfair is spearheading compound conditioning to help clients achieve their goals at the right pace and focus on body, mindset and lifestyle in their sessions. After a workout at Buddha Box (where you can do everything from yoga to martial arts) head to its recovery room to enjoy a holistic treatment that helps the body and mind to calm, as well as a herb-laden beverage for mental health benefits. Meanwhile, trainers like Luke Worthington and George Veness are also worth a follow for fitness and wellbeing advice that spans from how we think to how we work out.
While you might already have the yoga mat and a few weights hanging around as a result of the pandemic, have you assembled your home gym yet? Those who have space in their humble abodes may like to know that there are a wealth of new machines set to give you the gym experience from the comfort of your home. First, the most luxe of them all: Technogym’s new limited edition collection with Dior, which comprises a treadmill, bench (complete with dumbbells and elastics) and an exercise ball, which will be available to buy from selected Dior boutiques worldwide. And Hydrow’s Rower is a next-generation rowing machine, which comes with a screen (much like a Peloton) that guides you through workouts. And for chic weights, look no further than Bala, which has garnered a cult following this year, thanks to its minimalistic weights and sliders.
Recovery is key
It’s not a new concept, but increasingly the fitness world is waking up to the fact that rest days and active recovery are ultra important for a healthy body and mind. Stretching is of the utmost importance, whether that’s heading to Stretch Lab for an assisted stretch (that will leave you loose of limb and practically floating on clouds afterwards) or booking in for fascial stretch therapy at Bodyism or KX that looks after the body’s fascia (a thin connective tissue which sits under the skin) instead of your muscles to boost blood flow, improve alignment issues, pain, flexibility and mobility, and reduce the risk of injury. Oh, and look out for the launch of Monk, a smart ice bath which is set to bring all the benefits of cold water therapy (to help take down inflammation and so on) to your home.
Pilates for your pelvic floor
A model favourite, Pilates is an excellent practice to try if you’re looking to build core strength or alleviate back pain. But with increasing awareness about our sexual health and wellbeing, it’s also a great way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle. U Pilates, by celebrity trainer Sian Marshall, is all about creating a strong pelvic floor – she promises better orgasms with regular practice. If you find even the idea of a Pilates class a bit of a stress, then you need to sign up to Isa-Welly Locoh-Donou’s Beginner Pilates transformation programme, which starts 13 Jan, as her good energy and excellent explanations – and short and sweet 20 minute workouts – will have you feeling in charge of every muscle in no time.