The way we got — or didn’t get! — our exercise changed in 2020. A year ago, you may have been hitting the gym for a full-body circuit workout. Two months later, you probably joined the ranks of the determined, shopping online — in vain! — for a kettlebell, a dumb bell, a barbell — anything that might resemble any piece of equipment you remember from those blissful days of gyms packed with New Year’s resolutioners.

Fitness During Covid has required creativity, flexibility and determination. So what does that mean for this year? We’ve taken a look at top five predicted fitness trends for 2021:

Taking Fitness Outdoors

Throughout the pandemic, many studios and gyms, including the YMCA, have created outdoor fitness centers. Exercising outdoors isn’t a new concept, but a lot more people are venturing into the great outdoors for exercise. Local parks and green spaces have been the go-to spot. Running, hiking and cycling are tops in popularity, providing an opportunity for people to spend time together outside their homes. Whether you are looking for an outdoor boot camp or morning swim, YMCA members can access a variety of outdoor exercise options here.

Going Virtual: Remote Training and Coaching

Online fitness is booming! Remote training and coaching allow individuals to work with a personal trainer or well-being coach in a one-on-one setting. Many businesses have expanded their online programming. Personal trainers and coaches are great for that extra accountability and motivation. Clients can easily get virtual support in many different areas of health and fitness with streaming services and apps. YMCA members have access to our Virtual Y platform.

Connection of Mind and Body

In recent years, we’ve become more comfortable discussing mental health, and the topic is less stigmatized. When talking about fitness, physical activity and health are always top of mind, but mental health is just as important. Lockdowns across the world increased feelings of isolation. Mental health is a big focus this year, with good reason. We’ll see an increase in mind and body exercises that can be done at the same time — yoga, Pilates, and martial arts for example. Stay connected online with our Be Well series every Thursday for a short Q&A webinar with industry experts on mindfulness here.

Corporate Wellness is Essential 

This year we'll likely see an increase a renewed focus on wellness in the workplace. According to the ClassPass report, 25 percent of professionals are exercising more now than at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Exercise is medicine, and as we've placed higher importance on mental and physical health in the workplace, corporate wellness has become a necessity. Healthy employees who exercise regularly and positively manage stress tend to be more productive, less stressed and take fewer sick days.

Focus on High-Intensity Interval Training

In 2020, HIIT (high intensity interval training) came in top on ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) Health and Fitness Journal and it looks like it's here to stay. HIIT is so popular because you can burn a lot of calories through a combination of active bursts and a short period of rest. Additionally, HIIT workouts don't require much space and can be done anywhere. If you’re busy, a HIIT workout is quick and efficient. HIIT is predicted to be the top choice of exercisers, as gyms are able intermittently open and close.