2021 was the year when we found our stride in an ever-changing world. Around the globe, we embraced our need to adapt – be it finding new ways to work out from home or joining in running events as they slowly returned. We’d adjusted to the fact that life would look a little different for some time to come and had learned to relish the new fitness opportunities that we’d discovered from the need to change.
So, what does this mean for 2022? Now that we’ve arrived, what can we expect for this brand new year ahead? Well, we’ve pulled together the insights from the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal’s annual worldwide survey and teamed them with our fitness trends to bring you a forecast for the year ahead. What will 2022 look like for you?
It’s no surprise that everybody the ACSM surveyed is nerding out on data (with wearable tech coming in at #1 on their survey) because the insights it provides mean you can workout smarter, not harder. Plus, it can assist with your mindfulness practice and enhance your sleep and recovery.
Oh yes, we do love being bang on trend! But Polar sports watches are more than a passing fad. Since 1977, Polar has been tracking heart rates for over 40 years. We understand why wearable tech is integral to the future of fitness.
So, what does wearable tech look like in 2022? It’s all about integrated turn-by-turn guidance from navigation tech platform Komoot so that you can give trail running a try. It’s superior monitoring, every heartbeat tracked with precision, with Polar Precision Prime™ OHR Technology. It’s having all your data – workouts, heart rate, sleep time, nervous system recovery – interpreted for you so that you can get the most out of every day without overdoing it, with Polar Training Load Pro™.
Take a quick fitness break at home
We’re all accustomed to working from home now – and working out at home too. So, it’s no surprise that home gyms came in at number two on ACSM’s fitness trends report for this year.
The micro workout is one way to keep fit at home that we think will be a massive trend for this year. These are quick strength moves that you do throughout the day. They can take a few seconds or a few minutes, they can be structured or unstructured, and you can roll them into the more mundane parts of your day, like waiting for the morning coffee to brew or going to get the mail.
The goal is simple: stay active throughout the day. Micro workouts can be anything, like a series of squats or 100 jumping jacks. These short, high-intensity workouts are a great way to disrupt your routine and combat the health hazard of prolonged stillness.
The best part of them? Efficiency. Let’s say your goal is 200 jumping jacks. If you break that up into 20 jumping jacks per set, it’ll take you a total of 10 minutes – dispersed throughout the day – to hit your goal.
Walk this way
Another no-brainer in the pandemic era is exercising outdoors – and we agree that it will continue to be a big trend during 2022. We think one outdoor activity will receive a real boost this year: walking.
Often underrated, walking is a phenomenal workout that has tremendous health benefits. Going for regular walks improves your cardiovascular fitness, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, alleviates depression, plus helps you maintain a healthy weight.
For many, walking was the best way to endure another year of pandemic disruptions and restrictions. Taking walks with coffee, commuting to work, or walking dates, we believe walking will continue to be a popular choice during 2022.
HIIT Is Here to Stay
A mainstay of the top five trends since 2014, we expect HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to stick around in 2022. There’s no better way to get a complete, gym-free workout than with some intense circuits, especially for working professionals short on time. In short, the results you can achieve are undeniable.
HIIT is all about movement and workout efficiency, which fits perfectly with our new fitness lifestyle. You can do HIIT anywhere: in your living room, outdoors, or even at a local studio (if and when they reopen).
Of course, too much ‘high intensity’ isn’t a good thing. You should always make sure there is variety in your training, and you allow time to recover properly after a demanding workout (check out the next trend below for some refreshing ideas). We also have an anti-HIIT workout and recommend adding it to your training plan when you fancy something low-intensity.
2021 was all about streaming your workout, with many big-name fitness brands creating subscription-based virtual streaming services designed to replicate a guided group session in the comfort, convenience (and safety) of your home.
In 2022, we expect to see this shift elevated even further with the introduction of virtual reality into the home workout world. With a VR headset, you can access subscription-based services, like Supernatural, which give you access to virtual locations where you can work out while interacting with virtual elements.
From the Galápagos to the Great Wall of China, you transform your home into an exciting place to exercise. Plus, they have comedian and Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish as a guest coach, so you can laugh your way through your workout without leaving home.
Exercise as medicine
The health benefits of nutrition and physical activity are frequently studied separately. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that a combination of nutrition and physical activity can produce more significant positive health consequences and boost the immune system when compared to strategies that focus solely on one or the other. These potential immunity and infection susceptibility benefits are significant but often widely ignored.
Physical activity and nutrition are the essential components of a healthy lifestyle by improving body composition, musculoskeletal health, and physical and cognitive performance. Optimal physical activity and proper nutrition are also vital to preventing metabolic diseases like obesity, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease.
It has also been noted that prolonged exercise and intense training are linked to an increased risk of infection. Acute bouts of strenuous exercise cause a temporary dwindle in the immune function that can last 24h after the workout. Low impact exercise, such as yoga, can help boost the immune system. A mindful yoga practice will also help remove internal blockages and let blood and energy flow freely across and within the body. It will lead to an excellent circulatory system, a calm nervous system, and as a result, a well-functioning immune system too.
Feel like giving yoga a try to boost your immunity? Here’s a 30-minute session that’s suitable for both first-timers and advanced practitioners.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.