Top 5 fitness trends to watch in 2023

The new Aibi Maxwell gym has an AI fitness app featuring trainers like actor Allan Wu. Gamified exercise is set to become more popular. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

It is a brand new year, and a perfect time to shake up your workout routine. Fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike can try out some of the up and coming fitness trends for a healthier 2023.

1. Wearable technology

It has become a buzzword in the fitness community, but what is wearable technology? It refers to devices such as fitness trackers, smart watches, and heart rate monitors. Wearable technology was named 2022’s top fitness trend in a survey of 4,500 health and fitness professionals conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine.

From monitoring your heart rate and tracking your sleep, to even sending reminders to drink water or walk, wearable tech has a plethora of features designed to encourage and motivate us to stay fit and healthy in our daily lives. Many also allow users to set and track fitness goals, whether they are short- or long-term.

Smart rings may well be the new smart watch in 2023, with more brands muscling into the growing market. There are the established brands like Finnish start-up Oura, which has launched the Gucci x Oura ring with the Italian fashion house and new ones like Evie, the ring designed for women.

Not all wearable tech will burn a hole in your pocket and Singaporeans can even get a free fitness tracker through the Healthy 365 application, after signing up for the National Steps Challenge.

2. Exercise snacking

Unfortunately for couch potatoes, exercise snacking has nothing to do with food. Rather, exercise “snacks” refers to brief spurts of physical exertion, lasting for a minute or two and done throughout the day. This can take the form of climbing up and down the stairs, jogging on the spot or doing squats.

Studies have found that exercise “snacks” can rival traditional workouts in improving physiological health. They can offset the detrimental physiological effects of prolonged sitting, and improve cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic health in previously inactive adults.

Many people lack the time to do traditional workouts, which makes it hard to stay fit, but this method does not require much time or planning. It is feasible and time efficient, and can be incorporated in your day-to-day activities, even if you are sitting for long hours or working in the office.

3. Primal movement

Primal Movement is a unique workout centred on using seven core movements that are believed to be what human bodies are naturally made to perform, and what humans needed to survive throughout history, thus the word primal.

The seven basic movements used in primal movement workouts are: Pull, push, squat, lunge, hinge, rotation, and gait. These movements are combined into unique exercises which are meant not only to improve fitness but also to be fun and enjoyable.

Remote video URL

You can really go nuts with this workout, have fun moving like a caveman while giving your body a good exercise.

4. 75 soft challenge

An alternative to the TikTok famous 75 Hard challenge, the 75 Soft challenge is created by fitess influencer Stephen Gallagher and is meant to be more realistic and doable for the average person than the original.

For the unintiated, the original #75HardChallenge was created by Andy Frisella, a fitness entrepreneur and public speaker, and took off on TikTok in 2021.

According to the website, it is not a fitness challenge but a  “transformative mental toughness programme”. Participants must follow five rules for 75 days: follow a regimented diet of their choosing, complete two 45-minute workouts, drink a gallon (3.7 litres) of water, read ten pages of an educational non-fiction book and take daily progress photos.

The 75 Soft challenge only gives participants four rules to follow:

  1. Eat healthy, drinking only on social occasions.
  2. Train 45 minutes per day, taking one rest day a week.
  3. Drink 3 litres of water a day.
  4. Read ten pages of any book daily.

The 75 Soft challenge eliminates the final rule of the original, placing less emphasis on physical changes, and instead turns its focus to sustainable lifestyle patterns and habits.

5. Gamified exercise

Games use reward systems in order to encourage players. This can also be in a non-gaming context, such as mobile health apps.

Using rewards, health apps can make the process of tracking and maintaining fitness more fun for their users. For example, by offering points or badges for checking in every day, fitness apps can help users form sustainable habits.

There are diverse options on the market for mobile fitness apps. A few that gamify the fitness routine are:

  • PlayFitt, which allows users to earn coins through movement, which can be exchanged for real-life rewards such as Starbucks gift cards
  • Fitness RPG, where walking can help you level up characters to save Fitland from the Dark Force.
  • Pikmin Bloom, made by the creators of Pokemon Go, where players‘ steps are rewarded with items that can either grow or feed Pikmin creatures.

The rise of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality applications also take away some of the boredom associated with traditional exercise, making workouts more enjoyable and immersive.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.