With the new year already in full swing, tonnes of people will be looking at their waistlines, thinking about their muscle mass, and saying: "Maybe I should do something about this." While not all resolution-makers will make it through to the end of the year, many others will stick with their plans. Others may not get serious about their health until later in the year, but one thing is for sure: 2018 will bring about new fads, new popular trends, and more new ways for us to exercise than ever.

In years past, we've seen the rise of scientific fitness, the explosion of dance-based classes, and the resurgence of more traditional exercises such as running and cycling. While not every trend is worth keeping around, they offer us a valuable way to try new things ? and that's very important when it comes to staying engaged with your exercise. Otherwise, it's too easy to succumb to boredom and fall out of your routine. Some trends have staying power, too, such as dance fitness; once people try them out, it doesn't take long before everyone wants to experience the benefits. So, with all that in mind, let's break down what we can all expect to see holding the interest in the fitness world this year.

  • Meditation and App-based Exercise
  • Group Training
  • Virtual Reality
  • Recovery
  • Boxing
  • Bodyweight Training
  • Wearable Tech


Meditation and app-based exercise is on the rise

Mental wellness continues to become a bigger part of fitness pursuits as more people realise the value behind "mindful movement." While 2017 saw meditation in general breaking into the mainstream, expect to see more fitness regimens incorporating some meditation into their game plans.

More and more apps are popping up for smartphones that encourage people to follow through with their guided meditation efforts. Some pros even recommend meditating before and after your workout to help calm the mind and focus on developing healthy habits. T

aking the time to step back, breathe deeply, and let go of your stresses can allow you to approach your exercise unburdened from the things bothering you elsewhere. That can translate to a better, more efficient workout. Alongside continuing research into the benefits of meditation, we can expect to see and hear much more about these techniques in the coming year.

Group training will see us getting fit together

Speaking of fitness communities, 2018 may also be the year that group activities come back to the forefront. We're not talking about classics like Jazzercise, but new and different takes on how to work out in a group. You might receive more one on one face time with an instructor who visits with various members of a group during an activity.

It could also be the year of positive, wellness-focused fitness groups. With the success of programs that focus on building an identity around the exercise (such as CrossFit again), it seems like this will be the next logical step. It?s a good way to reconnect with your peers in an age when we're often staring at our screens for most of the day. Sweating together can forge stronger bonds than you'd expect.

Experience the power of virtual reality-based exercise

Virtual reality isn't just some fancy new technology used primarily for video games. In fact, VR applications are infiltrating all kinds of new places, from the medical sector to even the exercise world. That's why you should expect to see a big spike in the number of fitness fads that take place in a virtual space.

One of the most exciting applications we've already seen the first rumblings of involves cycling indoors. With a VR visor, you can leave the gym behind and cycle the Tour de France on your spin machine. Full motion simulators offer even more exciting opportunities. VR could also let you connect with personal training software.

Think of it as an exercise video on steroids ? you're right there, training just like you would be with live help. 2018 should see further refinements to virtual reality hardware, making it likely that this will be one of the year's biggest trends.

Recovery should begin to play a more prominent role

Over the past few years, exercise trends have ramped up in intensity, reaching very high levels of strenuous activity. The rise of CrossFit alone speaks to that trend, but so does the increasing focus on techniques such as high-intensity interval training. The result has been the development of a sentiment that if you aren't pushing yourself to the max all the time, you aren't doing enough for your fitness.

That means more people getting hurt while exercising ? so 2018 is set to be the year of recovery. More focus will be on how to recover from exercise as it?s a crucial part of developing a stronger, healthier body. Look for workout plans that don't place as much of a focus on activity every day, but instead work to create a stable balance between workouts and recovery days. Your sore muscles will be thankful for this trend.

Boxing is back in style, for everyone

What's one activity that offers a perfect blend of the benefits of strength training with heart-pounding cardio? It's boxing, of course. Although the goal isn't usually to get in the ring and fight an actual bout, boxing training regimens can be very effective for burning calories and toning up the body. In 2018, we should see a continued interest in boxing as more studios open and begin to offer training to new students.

Some of these classes offer group-based activities, while others give you a more one-on-one experience with a proficient personal trainer. You'll pump iron; you'll hit the treadmill ? you might even start to feel a little like Rocky. Plus, who doesn't want to work off some of the stress of daily life by pounding a punching bag as part of your exercise?

Bodyweight training will finally get real recognition

Who says that you need a tonne of expensive equipment just to exercise? Why should a gym membership be a requirement to try and work on your fitness? The answer to these questions is simple: you don't need a gym or its equipment if you want to make a start.

In fact, you can get pretty far just by working out with some of the most fundamental exercises out there. That's the key to bodyweight training ? where you use your own weight to provide the resistance you need to work on your muscles and improve your heart health. Push-ups, pull ups, and all kinds of other exercises can give you big gains without equipment. In 2018, we should see more of a movement towards this type of exercise. As more people try to find time to work out at home before or after work, bodyweight training will grow in popularity.

Finding a place for wearable tech in fitness

We've already seen the popularity of some wearable fitness technology explode in recent years, such as with the advent of the FitBit. As the Apple Watch and other wearables come onto the marketplace, though, more people will begin to look for ways to incorporate this tech into their daily workout.

When you can easily track how many steps you've taken, or measure your weekly running performance against a set goal, working towards better health is easier. Not all wearables have to be as fancy and expensive as an Apple Watch, either. In fact, 2018 may see the emergence of newer, lower cost alternatives as new companies seek to help their customers start moving more.

Wearables can also link in to social integration, creating digital communities of motivated individuals who can help encourage one another to keep up with their goals. The possibilities are almost endless.

Which trends will take your interest?

Besides these trends, we're sure to see a few things pop up with unexpected popularity. It's not always easy to pinpoint the exact direction of the fitness industry, and sometimes, the surprise developments are the most exciting ones. Whether you intend to start incorporating meditation into your daily routine or you choose to sign up for a brand-new group fitness class, though, the important thing about 2018 won't be its trends ? it will be your commitment to developing your fitness. No matter which way you decide to do that, remember to make time for fun and activities outside the norm. You'll be glad you did!

This article was written for Sports Fitness, an online store where you can buy exercise clothing and accessories such as boxing gloves, water bottles, hand weights and more.