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Fitness at Its Best: 5 Trends That Define Exercise Today

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With lessons learned from the pandemic, fitness has a chance to welcome, accommodate, and motivate more people, with an approach that prioritizes joy. 

The pandemic undeniably changed fitness. Daily gym-goers were suddenly stuck at home, while others finally had time to exercise. As people grappled with lockdown, many found much-needed community in virtual classes. 

These shifts led many of us to consider the real role of exercise in our lives. More than a year later, we’re ready to keep moving forward, and we’ve identified five market trends that are shaping fitness for the better. Fitness is becoming more attainable for everyone, personalized to individual needs, based in community, motivated by joy instead of “shoulds,” and foundational for overall wellness. 

These principles are behind the launch of Healthline Fitness, a new initiative designed to make fitness accessible, fun, and effective for all. We sat down with some of the team behind the launch to learn how these guiding principles have shown up in their personal fitness journeys as well.

Attainable for All 

Fitness today is for every person: every body type and ability, every mind, all ages, and any experience level. It’s not about achieving some artificial benchmark — it’s about taking steps along your own path.

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Juhie Rathor, Influencer Marketing Manager, sees change happening: “Inclusive body types are beginning to be more common... People like Meg Boggs, Joan MacDonald, and Lizzo have reminded us that fitness looks different for everyone.”

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Emma Satin, Associate Editor on the Health & Wellness team, relates to this on a personal level: “I made the choice to begin following fitness influencers whose bodies more so mirrored my own. I immediately noticed a positive change and spent much less time comparing myself to the people I was following, and instead began using them for inspiration and positivity.” 

Making fitness approachable for all has never been more important. That’s why Healthline Fitness content always provides straightforward, doable steps and doesn’t assume anyone has tons of extra time. The CDC says as little as 22 minutes daily is enough!

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How did you adapt your fitness habits during the pandemic? 

If you asked me about my fitness routine before the pandemic, I probably would have responded by talking just about my passion for daily group fitness classes at my local gym or for flying trapeze. It was such a critical part of my day-to-day schedule — being a part of that room, with energy, music, and live instructors. 

The pandemic put a halt to my in-person gym classes, which forced me to adapt my ways and mindset. Not only did I start doing virtual workout classes (which I said I’d never like!), but I’ve become mindful and intentional about all the movement in my day. I started intentionally adding more by going on multiple walks — and finding a way to fit it in, no matter the weather or amount of time I have. 

— Alyssa Kopelman

Personalized to Your Needs

During the pandemic, it became obvious that we had to think outside of the box and be creative about what a workout looks like. Many of us found ourselves doing step-ups on park benches or lifting cans of beans if we couldn’t get equipment! It also meant developing at-home workouts, fitting in fitness during WFH lunch, trying 10-minute HIIT workouts, and more. 

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Kevin Bender, Director of Special Projects, Content Marketing, says, “I definitely have found my fitness becoming more diverse and personalized. With my usual routine of gym-going and group classes suddenly unavailable, I turned to online options for different classes like HIIT, as well as yoga and bodyweight strength training, and was able to explore workouts I likely wouldn’t have IRL.” 

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Personalization — and, of course, greater accessibility — can still be found in a mix and match of IRL and virtual, at-home fitness options. Dria Barnes, SVP, Content and Brand Strategy, has experienced this in action: “There’s an incredible diversity in virtual fitness that didn’t exist 20 months ago. One day, I can do a 20-minute yoga, and another I can do a 75-minute, super-intense circuit. Before, that would have required multiple memberships or studios, and now I can do all of that without leaving the house.”

Healthline Fitness recommendations are designed to be both accessible and easy to personalize. Readers are encouraged to get creative and find what works for them!

Based in Community

The community aspect of fitness never went away during the pandemic. In fact, online communities quickly sprung up and boosted motivation for many during difficult times. Today, as in-person classes return, people are more eager than ever to exercise together. 

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Jessica DiGiacinto, Editor II with the Updates team, recognizes the role of community in fitness: “Once I started taking group lifting/fitness classes, I realized I really enjoyed the social aspect of it — it wasn't about individual performance, like sports, it was about shared energy and personal responsibility.”

Juhie took strides to build community herself: “When gyms and workout studios shut down in early 2020, I decided to host free weekly yoga sculpt classes for 150+ people on Zoom. It was so rewarding to know that I could help others feel better (physically and mentally) by encouraging them to move their bodies with our virtual community.”

Motivated by Joy 

When the pandemic hit, high levels of depression and anxiety understandably prevented many people from exercising, while others relieved stress by staying in motion. Today, getting back into fitness isn’t about losing the pandemic weight gain or building muscle — it’s about reclaiming your motivation and prioritizing what works for your mental health. For Healthline Fitness, the goal is for movement to bring a little more joy to everyone’s life. 

Emma has come to embrace this approach: “For a long time, I truly hated exercise. I viewed it as a necessary aspect of weight loss, but never understood how people enjoyed it… I began going to fitness classes with friends and found a community there that pushed me to get stronger instead of thinner… It was when I finally stopped hyperfixating on my appearance and began nourishing my body that I noticed how strong I had become and how great it felt to reach goals that weren’t measured by a scale.” 

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Brooke Mathe, MS, CSCS, Wellness Integrity Manager, sees opportunity in this approach: “We have to let go of the ‘shoulds,’ the shame, and the focus on changing our bodies, and instead help people find joy in movement, because this is how we help people build lasting healthy habits.” 

Foundational to Wellness

Countless studies have shown that physical movement is related to other aspects of health and wellness, like getting good sleep, improving mental health, and even boosting immunity. In fact, research suggests that regular exercise helps reduce the risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19. That’s why Healthline Fitness is a natural fit among Healthline’s other wellness offerings, from nutrition to mental health.

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Connecting exercise to other wellness goals will look different for everyone. Christina Guzik, Editor II on the Copy Edit team, says, “I was motivated by the challenge of optimizing my mental and physical health for conception's sake. I'm now pregnant, and having the ability to get in a great workout at home will surely continue to prove useful as I aim to get back into pre-pregnancy shape as a working mother of an infant and toddler.”

Launching Healthline Fitness 

With the launch of Healthline Fitness, we want to bring consumers fitness content that embodies the above values: accessible and approachable for all, personalized to what you need, rooted in community, motivated by joy, and core to overall well-being. Consumers are looking for this more inclusive, whole-person approach to exercise, and brands have an opportunity today to join this exciting conversation. 

Relevant Links: News Release: Healthline Fitness Launches to Help You Find the Fitness That Fits You

For more information on Healthline Fitness or to learn how we can work together to empower audiences to move, contact your Healthline Media representative or email us today.

About Healthline Media

As the #1 health media property in the US, Healthline Media reaches more than 94MM unique visitors each month (Comscore, August 2021). We provide credible health information with a compassionate approach.