New Ways to Fitness in 2024
Ellie Holmes on the top exercise trends for the year ahead
2024 is all about posture, movement and using our bodies correctly. Says Hashim Alsaidi, owner of Fitness Space, Wimbledon: “More of us are focused on the movement of our bodies for everyday life and what muscles and processes we use to sit, stand, walk and climb. There is a real focus [in particular] for older generations on the bio mechanics of everyday life movements, and exercises to develop them.”
Yoga and Pilates are both excellent for learning to use your body correctly. Reformer Pilates in particular is a top trend for 2024 with celeb fans including Margot Robbie. Reformer uses a specialist springs-based machine that can either make a movement easier or more intense so it can work for all fitness levels. Elsa Orler from Virgin Active, Wimbledon adds: “Reformer Pilates has had a meteoric rise in popularity over the past year. While this proposition is still largely attended by women, we are seeing more and more men joining these classes.”
Top places to try yoga include Body & Brain, with locations in Epsom and Putney; Naval Mair in Wandsworth for both yoga and Pilates, and Absolute Studios in Parsons Green for Dynamic Reformer. If you find it hard to get to a class, try a session online with Live Brave.
Fancy a spot of tennis? So last year! Try the fast-growing trend of padel. The sport is usually played in doubles, the balls have less pressure, a stringless racquet is used and the court is party enclosed so you can bounce the balls off them as you would in squash. It can be easier to play than tennis as the serve is underarm and the rules are simple. There are several places to play locally including Epsom Lawn Tennis Club and The Hurlingham Club. Another up-and-coming sport is pickleball, which combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It can be played indoors or outdoors by either two or four players and uses solid paddles. Try it at venues in Wimbledon, Clapham Common and Richmond.
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Fitness with weights
Rather than slogging it out on a treadmill, there has been a growing trend for incorporating resistance training, where your muscles use an opposing force during the exercise, whether that is with dumb-bells, resistance bands or gym machines.
Local personal trainer Dan Newman says: “Strength and resistance training can be hugely beneficial, particularly for women and people over 40. Benefits include lean tissue maintenance, a raised metabolism, as well as helping the body to burn more fat in a healthy way. More than this, strength affects mood as powerfully as cardio, but differently. Cardio is said to give you a mental ‘high’ and a kind of euphoria, but strength calms and grounds you and brings a satisfied peace. So physical and mental health benefit from both strength and cardio combined.” At Virgin Active, one of the most popular classes is Lift Club where members learn how to lift weights safely and get stronger with likeminded others. Hashim adds: “The growth of resistance-based classes will accelerate over 2024 and beyond. The challenge is how fitness facilities create classes that can have a universal appeal – this means the rise of small group classes based on experience and confidence.”
There is an increasing demand for more holistic and personalised approaches with health clubs offering everything from health MOTs to nutrition advice. Personal training sessions are coming into their own, as is personalised nutrition with the growth of innovative tech, such as ZOE. We don’t just want gyms but holistic wellness destinations. Chelsea’s KX, for example, combines tech, training and nutrition to offer a physical and psychological wellness transformation.