New Year, new you? Fitness has traditionally been a marker of self-improvement for many as they navigate the first few months of a new year, but fitness itself has seen some improvements, too.
If you choose to embark on a fitness journey, it likely won’t look the same as the one your parents did in while you were growing up, especially owing to one of the biggest shakeups of the century so far: the pandemic.
As we approach the third anniversary of March 2020, here’s what’s changed in fitness today and how you should approach self-care via with an active lifestyle.
A New Era
“The trends are moving away from fads—you’re looking forward to something that will motivate you to continue,” says Baltimore resident Marilyn Pick, who served on the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, offering her tips online, on TV and beyond.
Exercise is going back to basics – tried and true moves that motivate you and are essential for everyday life, she says.
People see exercise as not just a means to lose weight or build muscle, but part of a holistic approach to general health by incorporating movement into an active lifestyle, adds Teddy Savage, a Baltimore native and national lead trainer at Planet Fitness.
COO of Merritt Clubs and former assistant strength coach for the U.S. bobsled team, Mark Miller, says this shift toward functional fitness is popular because it helps people be more productive throughout the day. People are more focused on moving better rather than being locked into machines, he says.
They are also seeking a more flexible setting – real-time tracking on the go and adaptability to virtual spaces, note Savage and Pick. This was more of a necessity earlier in the pandemic—when Pick became certified in virtual teaching.
Miller agrees that now more and more people are seeking a convenient, practical way to stay fit from within their own homes because their understanding of fitness has evolved.
Time for Recovery
As we approach fitness today, Pick’s expert advice is to “train, don’t strain” and find something you love to do. For her, it’s teaching her 45-minute nonstop Cardio and Tone class.
Pick has loved dancing since she was a little girl, now she uses her passion to choreograph moves for her fitness class. For Pick, the main benefit of cardiovascular fitness is a healthy immune system but her favorite benefit is how good exercise makes her feel.
Miller’s own fitness routine now includes a heavier emphasis on recovery and stretching, using foam roller and massage guns to make sure he’s not overdoing his workouts. “It helps the muscle get out of spasms, get rid of lesions, improve blood flow,” he says.
Savage notes that staying active comes with overall benefits, including improved sleep quality and mental health, stress relief and a boost to your mood through endorphins.
“Fitness is not just about lifting weights. It’s about mindset, nutrition and recovery too,” Miller says.