The Rise Of No-Frills Fitness And Other Trends To Watch In A Post-COVID World

by | May 28, 2020 | Fitness, Food & Nutrition, Health, Style

So, we know we know that the Zoom founder’s net worth leapt more than 100% in three months. We know that we will be home fitness and social distancing for many moons to come and wearing masks. But what of the bigger lifestyle trends coming out of global lockdown? Our editor Danielle Weakley presented on these trends with a panel of editors…

No-frills virtual fitness

Who would ever have guessed that it would be the yogis who made the transition into virtual look so effortless? As global communities have adjusted to getting an endorphin fix at home, we’ve seen a rise in no-frills fitness trends and online content.

PE with Joe Wicks has become a ritual of daily UK Lockdown life. Yoga With Adrienne’s YouTube channel peaked at 1.8M daily views in April during the US lockdown. And it’s not just free classes on video platforms. Fitness classes have always had a family feel about them – just ask any CrossFitter, yogi or Fit Night Outer! Ticketed classes via apps, Zoom and closed online groups have quickly become the new norm.

Home fitness has also piqued the interest of many who may not have had a regular workout routine. Trend forecasters Spate report a 200 percent increase in Americans searching for ‘at-home gym’ equipment. These include super high-tech set-ups like The Mirror, which is literally a full-length mirror loaded with fitness classes and instructors whose movements you mimic, and Peloton which is a stationary bike loaded with live classes… All the way through to treadmills, weights, yoga mats or skipping ropes.

This virtual world of fitness will not stop when lockdown lifts. Many people are already saying that they’re reticent about heading back to gyms. A recent poll by Run Repeat in the US put this figure as high as 47%… Having a virtual alternative to all live classes – a work-in instead of a work-out, will stay.

Mental health: a talking point

Calls to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group have doubled since lockdown was announced. It is easy to write off the value of mental wellbeing at a time when serious physical disease threatens, but this is a mistake. As Men’s Health South Africa editor Rob Cilliers points out: “Mental illness has physical consequences for those who suffer and those around them. Staying mentally fit is linked closely to keeping physically fit. Exercise, including mild exercise such as going for a walk, is proven to alleviate depression and virtual therapy has been a lifeline during the pandemic.”

READ MORE: How To Access Online Therapy And Mental Health Care While You’re Stuck At Home

Psychologists say it takes 21 days for a new habit to form – and that good mental health habit-forming has been seen in the rise of apps…. Apps that incorporate yoga, Pilates and meditation. Free apps that give anonymous emotional support. Apps that help you sleep by listening to adult “bed-time” stories and apps that don’t wake you up like a regular alarm clock, but rather give you a task to perform, have all seen huge subscriber growth spikes.

Back-to-basics wellness trends

Unpicking the idea of wellness from the trillion-dollar industry that has been built up around it, means we’ll see people return to wellness in its original form — as a means of staying mentally and physically well. By last year, we had reached peak faddy wellness – with Goop candles selling for close to $100 and Kim Kardashian throwing a CBD-themed baby shower. But this period of global uncertainty has seen a rise of back-to-basics wellness, absent of gimmicks. As the Global Wellness Institute observes: “One of the key concepts in wellness is being personally proactive to keep yourself well and to keep illness at bay.” That we can do.

Bare-faced revolution

After collective weeks of being in self-isolation, there’s been little need for make-up. Even when getting out into the world, we’re covered by a mask – our new uniform. What this has meant for beauty routines is a focus on skincare. It’s been on the bubble for some time – the idea of creating a glow from a great skincare routine rather than faking a glow through a great make-up routine. Plus, with WFH there’s arguably more time to indulge in a proper morning ritual – double moisturising, serums, primers, masks. Bring on the bare-face revolution – great skincare, tinted moisturisers and a focus on the eyes. These are trends we can get behind.

DIY hair trends

A crisis often reinforces lifestyle trends that were already there, and the trend towards embracing grey hair has been gathering momentum for a while. It really gained pace in December last year when Keanu Reeves appeared on the red carpet with his silver-haired girlfriend, artist Alexandra Grant, and the world went mad. During lockdown, Michelle Visage from RuPaul’s Drag Race shared videos of her grey roots on Insta and asked her followers to vote – #greyisthenewblack started to trend.

And then there’s the reverse – DIY colour. Did you spot Eva Longoria on Insta for L’Oreal? She shot it on her iPhone in her own bathroom, showing – and then covering – her grey roots.

There’s also a well-documented human psychological need to mark a trauma in some way – with a tattoo, a radical hair cut, losing weight. And going grey, or dyeing your hair, is also part of that: a psychological response to the trauma of COVID-19 and isolation.

Virtual world fatigue

The virtual world highlights the human need for contact more than ever – we are a social species and have a profound need for physical, face-to-face gatherings and touch. Psychotherapist Lucy Beresford says: “Physiologically, studies show that skin-on-skin contact releases oxytocin. Dubbed the ‘happy hormone’, it helps mothers bond with their babies, or lovers bond as a couple. Psychologically, the cuddling, stroking, massaging and nurturing that happens to us as a baby conveys a sense of being looked after and loved. We carry that imprint with us as adults.”

READ MORE: Social Distancing Could Continue Into 2022, According To New Harvard Study

The end of workwear

Utility, comfort and sustainability will come first when buying clothes – essentially wearing your WFH ensembles back to the office. Working from home has changed the way we dress, and it will change the way we shop. The work wardrobe as we knew it is a thing of the past. The emphasis has shifted from profesh workwear to fashionable leisurewear, with the emphasis on good, breathable fabric.

Major events on the fashion calendar like fashion weeks and The Met Gala have all been cancelled. We’ve also witnessed major fashion houses stepping in to produce protective gear for frontline workers as opposed to working on their seasonal collections. The best phrase to encapsulate this move in fashion is season-less. Brands like H&M and Mary Katrantzou are already launching collections that are neither winter nor summer and consist of pieces that can be layered and mixed and matched – meaning value for money.

Let’s call it peacocking

The opposing force to the end of workwear is the upping of the ante on occasion dressing! Trend spotters are anticipating that we will spend more on evening wear … When we do actually go out, we’ll go all out: killer outfits and shoes – as going out becomes much more of an event than it used to be. In a recent Vogue interview, Drew Barrymore called it: “peacock it up”… Colourful, super-fashionable fabrics and bold coordinates, maximalist shapes and silhouettes.

Resurgence of home cooking

This pandemic has unleashed many new, enthusiastic home chefs, and they will continue sharing creations on social. There has been a definite shift back to local, homegrown ingredients – especially in the light of the growing scepticism around anything ‘unknown’ in the world. Many people are looking to grow their own produce in kitchen gardens and even in pots on balconies. Organic and vegan eating trends will grow as this pandemic has truly stressed the fragility of life and the advantages of remaining healthy. We’ve also all been guilty (but in a good way!) of digging out old family recipes for simple dishes. Nothing fancy, nothing too unhealthy, just good, simple food.

Living la vida local

So, you may have seen the social media hashtag FOGO – fear of going out. More accurately, there’s FOGF – fear of going far. Localisation is going to be given a huge boost. Large parts of Italy are already fully booked for March and April next year – all by Italians. Nobody wants to fly. But this doesn’t mean that people don’t want to go on holiday. The pandemic hasn’t reduced the need for vacation and travel. Paradoxically, it has increased that yearning to explore outside the boundaries of our four walls. Road trips and destinations you can reach by car are going to make a massive comeback. Vacay spots that can provide local travellers with affordability, cleanliness, privacy and even seclusion will flourish.

READ MORE: 6 South African Businesswomen Share Why It’s SO Important To Support Local

Virtual events IRL

Humans are social beings and naturally thrive on collective consciousness and collective experiences. Never has the need for community, connection and engagement – not to mention advice and inspiration from trusted sources – been as necessary and life-affirming as right now. As Yoga by Adrienne’s Adrienne says of virtual live events: “I really think that it’s such a beautiful reflection of this idea, that you’re not alone.”

Women’s Health bring communities together through our shared passions and we will continue to do so through the interactivity and connection of live events too. As we look ahead, yes, people will seek to recapture the vital social interaction we have missed over the course of the pandemic, but thanks to new norms, new tech platforms and new habits formed, virtual events will be here to stay – even if in hybrid form. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our virtual line-up.

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