Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, today’s workouts are different from how they used to be. And this isn’t just pointing to how they’re now largely online. Today’s fitness landscape is all about technology and how it can be used to deliver on-of-a-kind exercise routines.
Social distancing and staying at home have ruled out having the physical presence of a personal trainer, so today’s workout companions tech-based. Emerging workout regimens are also tailored to more of today’s daily dilemmas, such as eye strain, facial tension, and muscle soreness.
As the world of fitness moves from gyms to people’s homes, recovery techniques have become more personalized and fit for the home. In general, recovery has become something of its own. The main reason for this trend is that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts became a favorite among gym sharks a few years ago. These workouts consisted of short bursts of intense workouts with brief periods of rest in between.
People latched onto this trend because they quickly saw results, and started doing it more times per week than they needed to. As a result, they needed better muscle recovery solutions. It’s also possible that lockdown fatigue, the exhaustion we feel in isolation, also plays a part in this trend’s popularity.
Before the pandemic, recovery treatments had already started to come into their own. Cryotherapy became a trend among professional athletes and other celebrities. It involves standing in a chamber that exposes your body to below zero temperatures, which was supposed to speed up muscle recovery. It is also known as cold therapy and is a relative of CoolSculpting or Cryolipolysis, a non-invasive fat removal procedure that “freezes” and removes body fat.
During the pandemic, when most people wouldn’t have access to cryotherapy chambers in their homes, tech-based recovery soon shifted to the “theragun”. This device aims to alleviate muscle soreness and promote faster recovery by giving massages to aimed muscle groups. Other self-administered massage devices include foam rollers and massage balls.
Wearable Fitness Technology
Thanks to the need to observe social distancing, today’s fitness trainers and workout companions look a little different. Sometimes they can be worn on one’s wrist in the form of a fitness tracker such as Apple Watches and Fitbit. These devices track heart rate, the number of steps taken, and even hours and quality of sleep, which is especially useful in a time when many are suffering from pandemic-induced insomnia.
Other kinds of wearable fitness tech can be worn on other parts of the body. Sensoria Fitness’ Smart Socks are geared towards changing the name of your morning run game. Athoshas a line of fitness clothing that can correct you on your form and give you data on muscle exertion in real-time. The Nadi X Smart Yoga Pants do the same, only they vibrate to let you know that your form is off.
Due to higher levels of stress and anxiety during the pandemic, a new form of “workout” has been taking the internet by storm: FaceGym. Its owner, Inge Theron, insists that the experience is a workout and not a facial. Unlike traditional workouts, FaceGym involves lying still while a therapist – referred to as a “personal trainer” – gives your face the so-called workout. Using their hands and some choice tools such as muscle magnets and oxygen blasters, your skin is massaged for 45 minutes. By the end, your face is left sweating and detoxing, but also lifted and contoured.
More people have reported some form of eye strain or deterioration during the lockdown due to prolonged screen exposure. That said, Eye Yoga emerged as a solution – though there’s no evidence as of yet to support claims that it can fix conditions such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism. Instead, Eye Yoga aims to minimize symptoms of eye strain and improve eye focus.
The regimen consists of exercises that will move your eyes and its focus around to help shake the fatigue of focusing on screens for an extended period. These include eye-rolling, distance gazing, focus shifting, and palming, placing your warmed hands on closed eyes to soothe them.
Video Game Workouts
If you’re a gamer who loves to workout, this is the category for you. In late 2019, gaming giant Nintendo released their Ring Fit Adventure, a role-playing game that requires players to exercise as a form of play. The system comes with the eponymous Ring and a leg strap that captures your real-world movements and converts them into in-game actions
Other gaming workout experiences include Black Box’s VR Fitness Game and Ubisoft’s 2021 edition of their hit dance rhythm game Just Dance. These video game-based workouts are especially good if you have kids who you want to get into more active lifestyles. After introducing them through these video games, you can then transition them to more traditional methods of working out, such as walking, jogging, or the good old-fashioned playing outdoors.
Trends are a reflection of the times that we live in, and workout trends are no exception. Today’s workout trends are aimed at keeping people motivated with unique experiences. They’re also made to address COVID-era physical pains such as eye strain, muscle pain, and facial tension.