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5 Easy Ways To Refresh Your Fitness Routine

Posted on: by Women's Health
A woman doing skipping as part of her fitness routine

By Wanita Nicol

Hot sweat sesh trends that’ll revamp your workouts.

New year, new goals, new possibilities… Same old workout? Something about that just doesn’t add up. Sure, routine can be a good thing – it keeps you swiping your gym card when you’d far rather be sipping cocktail number two and we know consistency is key to lasting results. But doing the same workout for months can also be a buzzkill of note – not to mention an enemy of gains. As your body adapts to a workout, the moves become less challenging, which means less impressive results. And the more you feel like you’re not getting results, the less inclined you’ll feel to keep training. See what’s happening here? Set yourself up for success by tapping into one of 2017’s hottest sweat trends as featured on the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)’s annual top 20 fitness trends list.

Whether you’re just starting out on your fitness journey or are a seasoned fitster looking for a new challenge, we have a goal and a workout refresh just for you.

YOUR GOAL: A better PB

Make it happen:

2016 was the year of the fitness device – from simple activity trackers to watches that all but mix your power smoothie (gap in the market there, TBH). These days getting your sweat on with a wrist unadorned is like leaving the house without your shoes. And the bromance between fitness and tech is only getting tighter – which is good news as technology can work wonders for boosting your performance, whether you’re trying to reach a step-count goal or want to film your dead-lift form on your smartphone.

READ MORE: 5 Reasons Why You Should track Your Workout

“Wearable fitness technology items – activity  trackers, smart watches, heart- rate monitors, GPS tracking devices – will get even bigger in 2017, especially as incentive programmes up their use as a way to earn rewards,” says Ceri Hannan, national product development manager at Virgin Active, which is introducing TRACK technology that allows you to sync your tracker with your gym machine.

But the big forecast for the year? Virtual-reality workouts. Strap your VR helmet on, hop on your spinning bike and ride a stage of the Tour de France or run on the beach without ever leaving your treadmill in Sandton.

YOUR GOAL: Stop skipping workouts

Make it happen:

Group exercise is bigger than ever, landing a spot on ACSM’s fit list for the first time. Training as part of a group can make you work harder because you want to keep up with the class. Plus, you’re more likely to make your workout if you have friends waiting for you – or judgey classmates who will note your absence. A US survey of Les Mills members by the Nielsen Corporation found that 90 percent of respondents attended at least two classes a week.

Most gyms and studios will allow you to do a free trial session before committing. Shop around and find one that’s fun for you, whether that means jumping on a trampoline or punching a bag. If you’re in Cape Town, Joburg or Pretoria, you can sign up with FitKey to gain access to a wide range of classes across multiple disciplines.

READ MORE: What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Working Out

Here are two workouts we can’t wait to try: Pound® is a high-energy combo of squats and lunges while using drumsticks to pound the floor in time to rocking beats. Jump Into Shape has you doing just that on mini trampolines while your instructor’s voice – and pumping tunes – play through wireless headphones.

YOUR GOAL: Get more vitamin D

Make it happen:

We’re not knocking the gym – hey, we spend a lot of time there ourselves! – but hands up if you’ve ever shed a silent tear walking into it on a gorgeous sunny day? Training outdoors is a major sweat trend for 2017 and along with it workouts like parkour and callisthenics, where the world is your fitness studio. Yes, we’ve all seen the parkour fails on social media, but no one’s expecting you to leap buildings in a single bound. Your local park has all the equipment you need for an alfresco sweat sesh. Think hanging leg raises on the monkey bars, box jumps on the bench and pikes on the swings. For more inspiration, check out

YOUR GOAL: Be healthier 

Make it happen:

Exercise Is Medicine® is a global movement that aims to encourage doctors to include physical activity in treatment plans for patients. It’s based on the belief that exercise is crucial for both preventing and treating disease. The movement aims to see fitness trainers and coaches fostering trusting relationships with GPs in their communities to the point that a doc would feel comfortable referring a patient to them as part of a broader treatment plan. With non-communicable lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, reaching epidemic proportions, we’re all for it.

Do you have what it takes? Women’s Health is on the hunt for South Africa’s Next Fitness Star — and it could be you!

An extensive literature study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded that yoga can be enormously beneficial in managing disease, while smaller individual studies have found hitting the mat beneficial in alleviating a wide spectrum of ills, ranging from period pain to arthritis, as well as boosting mood and relieving stress.

Still new to this whole exercise thing? Start with The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa’s recommendation of 30 minutes of moderate exercise (think a brisk walk or slow jog) five days a week, plus moderate to high-intensity strength training at least twice a week.

YOUR GOAL: Get fit at home

Make it happen:

So you’re all for the latest workout craze, but budget constraints and your crazy schedule mean that home is where the gym is? Turns out, you’re in good company. This year also sees a return to fitness basics. Body-weight training, functional training and circuits all made it into the ACSM’s top 20.

READ MORE: 5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Bodyweight Workouts

Get all three in one with this functional body-weight circuit from strength and conditioning specialist Don Bahneman. You’ll need a bench – although a sturdy chair, couch or your bed will do just fine. Do the moves in order, moving from one to the next without rest. At the end of the circuit rest for 45 to 60 seconds, then go again. Do up to five rounds. Up the intensity by doing star jumps for 30 seconds between moves.

Looking for more? Here’s how you can use your rest days to get better workout results.

This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb’17 issue of Women’s Health South Africa

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