Gyms are terrifying places for the average Joe or Jane. Everyone else seems to know what they’re doing, even with all those weird contraptions (face it, you use the treadmill and the exercise bike because they’re the only ones that make sense, you know it, I know it). It’s intimidating enough without an extra layer of strangeness added on top: but here comes This Year’s Fitness Must-Try™.
Somewhere along the line, gym bunnies got bored of perfectly acceptable exercises and decided to spice it up at bit. Often, these fads claim to be better or more effective than their pedestrian exercise-ancestors. Let’s take a look at the best of the bunch.
Working out in stilettos
If you’ve got your eye on a really nice pair of £150 heels, but can’t justify spending so much on footwear you’re going to wear once or twice every other month, we’re here to help. Working out in high heels is a thing now, so buying those shoes is now for your health. You’re welcome. Here’s some science to back up your excuse: research has suggested that even walking in high-heels (below three inches) can shape the calves and improve muscle tone and shape. Make sure to warm up before trying this though, or reach for some pain relieving gels after to tend to those pulled muscles!
Lunging and squatting in high heels can help with your balance too. 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.
Seriously sweaty ballet and/or yoga
New York and Los Angeles leapt on the ‘hot barre’ trend.
What is the hot barre trend? In essence, someone look at ballet and thought it needed to be more brutal, and so, cranked up the thermostat. This trend 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.
Now, we’re turning the heat up on everything; fancy a ‘hot yoga’ class?
Though it sounds like something one might do to the toilet after a less-than-healthy dinner, plogging actually has a very noble goal. It’s a Scandinavian based trend that encourages people to pick up litter while out running — improving health and the environment.
It’s called ‘plogging’ as a combination between ‘jogging’ and the Swedish phrase ‘plocka upp’, which roughly translates to ‘pick up’. 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.
Naturally, as any good trend must, it’s been a hit with social media, as photos circulate of people getting healthy and cleaning the streets at the same time. Could we see this trend become widespread sometime soon?
Blisters are strange. If you don’t have one and you think about one, you know they hurt, but they aren’t that bad. Then, when you get a bad blister, you struggle to remember a time when your foot felt normal. The obvious solution for blister-haters? Do away with shoes and embrace the running sock.
Supporters say running around in shoes can actually cause more injuries. It can only be assumed they are running through nice fields, because running shoeless through any street I’ve seen would result in several shards of broken glass, a few stones, and a crisp packet being lodged in your foot (where are the ploggers when you need them?). 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 lost popularity, however (presumably after a few trips shoeless over pavement revealed Britain’s problem with broken glass everywhere). Experts have said that switching to barefoot running without properly transitioning makes you prone to injuries. Only try this one if you’re willing to practise walking barefoot before running.
So, shoes on or shoes off? We can only imagine what the next few years will bring for exercise trends, and no doubt they’ll be even weirder than that.