Wednesday 20 January 2016

Fitness Forecast 2016

So what will be in - in 2016?   Crazes in group exercise classes in UK gyms are ever-changing and can be ever-surprising!   It is good though to keep your body surprised in terms of the exercises you do.  This means your body has to keep adapting to change, rather than plateauing with a limited number of exercises.  

Online, exercise appears to be increasingly about Instagram Glam.   Despite it's long and spiritual heritage, Yoga's future looks to include yet more Yoga pose selfiies online. 

So will this obsession with body image and exercise carry on?   Or will there be some balance with body function over form as the reason to exercise?    Perhaps the large amount of published scientific evidence available will help persuade us of the greater benefits of getting and staying fit...

Meanwhile, evidence a while back suggested how effective High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is in terms of increasing fitness.  And HIIT has certainly been a big hit in 2015.   However, the intensive nature of the training does carry a higher risk of injury when compared to lower intensity exercises.   Might this stop us and make us pause to think about how well our bodies function under stress?    Might we appreciate and understand more about our posture, flexibility, mobility and stability and the roles they all play in safely exercising?

For some, if you already have an injury, or other physical issue such as a back problem, then gaining all of the above is going to come first - before you think about speed, power and high intensity.

But might 2016 include a light bulb moment for more of us in terms of what we need to do to prevent injury?  Will we think about future-proofing our bodies before we go for the New Year burn (if we haven't gone for it already)?

Source: Amanda Mills
If that burn is going to be a run, then you may be part of the fastest growing sport in the UK right now.  And chances are, you might be wearing a new bit of wearable tech.  It will be interesting, in time, to know what difference wearable tech makes to the fitness landscape.   It's certainly a tool for those who already exercise.   I wonder if it will draw in many new exercisers?

Exercising at home with a fitness DVD or video has been the preserve of thousands (of mainly women) for years.   Now though, these are being replaced by a plethora of online exercise tutorials, some of which promise to accommodate every body shape and size.  But can they?  Can they replace a real life class where you can explain to the instructor that you don't feel 100% when you arrive and can give feedback the next week about how you felt after the class.

Going back to HIIT, it's interesting how scientific evidence filters down into the fitness industry and influences how we exercise.  2016 may see more findings about our obsession with how and when our bodies use fat as a source of energy - fat-burning.   These findings may well influence trends in how and when we exercise in 2016...

Keep on going!

Friday 1 January 2016

What will we eat in 2016?

So January is when we regret eating so much over Christmas and letting all our good intentions go to pot, having been indoors with large amounts of food that we might not otherwise have bought or eaten...

Time to get outside and get moving!

I wonder what 2016 will bring us in terms of dietary trends and messages?   With New Year's resolutions in mind, the Amazon Wish List for dieting and health eating books appears to refer more to plans and cures rather than to the D-word - diet.   Have we finally realised that diets don't work and just cost us a lot of money?   Or are diets just being rebranded as lifestyle changes and panaceas?

Last year also saw a significant online reaction to what was seen as female body-shaming.  Protein World ran an ad campaign on London Under Ground featuring and promoting the beach-ready body.   An immediate online petition signed by 70,000 suggests that many have had enough of body image dictation by advertising and marketing executives.

Social media will further shape what we eat over the next 12 months (if sales of cook books are anything to go by).   The biggest selling cook book was written by food blogger Deliciously Ella, knocking all celebrity chefs off the top spot.

In turn, bits of kit, like the Spiralizer (which turns vegetables into thin ribbons), have taken the nation's kitchens by storm.   Let's hope more vegetables will be eaten as a result!

Wikipedia: Creative Commons
And the power of celebrity is nudging doors open in both the food industry and Whitehall - in the shape of Jamie Oliver's 2015 Sugar Rush documentary and campaign    

The campaign focuses on childhood obesity with proposals for a tax on sugary drinks, changes to food labelling and a 9pm watershed on advertising of food high in fat, sugar and salt.   We may also see the naming of the UK's first Sugar Smart City (Brighton and Hove?) in 2016.

Perhaps Jamie's proposal with the most teeth is that of reformulation.  This follows the example of the food industry reducing salt levels in processed food.   For sugar, it would mean a gradual reformulation of all foods and drinks which contain extremely high levels of sugar.  This would allow our taste buds to adjust to less sweet-tasting food gradually.

So, finally after decades of fat being demonised, as a nation we are becoming more aware that actually our bodies need fat to function properly.  Our bodies do not, however, require food and drinks with large quantities of added sugar...

2015 also saw growth in the world of 'free-from' foods - many people choosing dairy, gluten and sugar-free diets.

After the World Health Organisation recently announced that eating processed meat is associated with a small increased risk of cancer (in the studies they reviewed), there may well be a longer term shift away from meat - a trend my vegetarian daughter will be pleased with!    The increasing awareness around the environmental cost of meat production is likely to boost this trend.

Wikipedia: Creative Commons
The States has led the way in recent years in high protein diets, something that may well be reflected by food retailers on the British high street more this year.   Interest may also grow further in 2106 in foods that boost 'good' gut bacteria.   Fermented foods, for the same reason, may well also increase in profile.   And if we turn to more pulses, seeds and grains for our diet - we may find ourselves soaking them to increase their nutrient content and aid their digestion.

Come summer, it may be Caipirinhas all round as we watch the Olympics in Brazil!

For now though, perhaps a diet free from large quantities of turkey, roast vegetables, chocolate biscuits and chocolates is all we need!   And maybe a dry January too...?!