A big year for workout firsts, 2013 gave us plenty of new opportunies to get active. Not only were fitness fads a hot topic in the research world, but they also made their way to the forefront of our social media, fashion and social lives (yes, people now go on SoulCycle dates!). Here’s a brief recap of some of 2013’s most interesting fitness trends and topics.
1. Themed Workouts
“Cardio parties” were a big thing in 2013. From color runs to neon runs to themed SoulCycle rides to yoga raves, there were practically endless opportunities for fat-burning fiestas. Running a 5K hit a new level of fun!
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Workouts involving high-intensity spurts of exercise followed by short recovery periods were a major trend in 2013. Programs like P90X, Insanity and CrossFit took the workout community by storm. Some of the benefits of HIIT? It burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time, boosts the metabolism and it’s convenient (you can do it anywhere). According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, this trend is here to stay.
3. Exercising During Pregnancy
Turns out, prenatal exercise not only makes mothers-to-be feel and look healthier, it also boosts their babies’ brain development, according to studies presented at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience conference. “This will encourage women to change their health habits, given that the simple act of exercising during pregnancy could make a difference for their child’s future,” said researcher Dave Ellemberg, a professor at the University of Montreal.
4. Mashup Workout Classes
New to the workout world in 2013 was the concept of the combination exercise class. Just like a mashup of your favorite songs, mashups of your favorite sweaty activities hit the fitness scene. Take “PILOXING,” for example. This fusion interval class combines boxing, dance and Pilates. Other combo classes now include aqua spinning (the bikes are in the water) and yoga/spin combos that balance cardio with muscle lengthening. While many of these workouts were simply fun fads, some are must-tries if you’re looking to mix up your daily routine.
In 2013, increasing evidence came to light that overdoing endurance exercise can damage the heart and shorten life expectancy. Endurance cross-country skiers and ultra-marathon runners were found to be at risk of developing adverse heart conditions such as arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation. Similarly, extreme CrossFit exercisers were sometimes found to have suffered from exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis — the death and breakdown of muscle fibers into the bloodstream.) Fortunately, these findings only apply to cases of severe overexercise — so stay within safe limits.
6. Tracking Every Movement
Our obsession with tracking every detail of our workouts, daily lives and even our sleep led to the release of several highly technical and fashionable lifestyle trackers in 2013. Devices like the Basis B1 track heart rate, perspiration and skin temperature, in addition to counting steps and monitoring sleep patterns. Companies including Nike, Jawbone and Polar began making lifestyle tracking more stylish — and oh so trendy.