10 fitness trends to watch out for in 2024


With 2024 underway, wellbeing writer Jennifer Wallis speaks to experts about the fitness trends hitting the ground running this year (or not, so it may seem)


When we say ‘fitness and wellbeing’, it’s doubtful that whipping out the hoover, making new friends in the park or jumping in a cold bath (ouch!) spring to mind.

But with more of us beginning to recognise that small changes can make a big difference to our mind and body, it’s clear that keeping fit in 2024 will involve much more than just pounding pavements or drinking endless litres of celery juice. Here are 10 trends destined to own 2024.

1. Strength in numbers

Being part of a community, particularly one centred around getting active, can not only help motivate us, but also offer opportunities to build friendships with like-minded people.

“Socially we are becoming more disconnected from others,” says Chrissie Wellington, parkrun’s UK Head of Health and Wellbeing. “We need places where we can connect with others in a meaningful way,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Shani Yeend, personal trainer and founder of Fitbirds Fitness, a community-based fitness group for women in London, agrees: “The bonds that are created within a fitness community are special. [They] bring their friends to classes, socialising through fitness and wellness. It’s part of what makes group fitness more motivating.”


2. The weight is over

Gone are the days when lifting weights and building muscle was reserved for bodybuilders. Now people of all ages and genders are dabbling with deadlifts and perfecting their push-ups.

Strength training has gained a lot of traction as research comes to light about its benefits. Women in particular are becoming more aware of the need for strength training.

Shani points out that where women were once “terrified of bulking up” they now realise the importance of building muscle “to protect our bodies as we move through pregnancy, postnatal rehabilitation and hormonal transitions such as perimenopause.”

3. Fitness is booming

Fitness is no longer a category reserved for young gym bunnies. There has been a significant increase in the number of the boomer generation[1], ages 59 and up, signing up for gym memberships, with one of the reasons being the fact that as we age, we are more at risk of musculoskeletal issues.

“Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissue as we age, and osteoporosis is a loss of bone mineral density," says Jonathan Kibble, Vitality’s Head of Exercise and Activity.

“Both are something we can start to struggle with as we age,” he notes. So, don’t be afraid; there’s a gym waiting out there for all of us.


4. A healthy hybrid

Many of us are au fait with hybrid working due to the pandemic, but what about hybrid training? It’s a fitness trend that Jonathan says has the potential to be huge in 2024. “Rather than focusing your fitness on being a cyclist or a runner,” explains Jonathan, “hybrid training is where you complete a mix of strength building and cardiovascular-based disciplines.”

Not only this, but the hybrid way of working means that we like to mix up how we work-out – whether that’s pumping iron in the gym after work or completing an online workout on our WFH days.

5. Thats pretty NEAT

Whether we want to believe it or not, our lives are becoming more sedentary, so the need to get up and move is more necessary than ever. But one of the most common excuses for not working out is the age-old battle with time, or lack thereof.

But what if we told you that keeping fit doesn’t have to be specific, intense exercise? Enter NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) exercises. “It’s important to understand how beneficial staying generally active is for our health, too,” says Jonathan.

Incorporating little chunks of activity throughout our day is a manageable way to keep active, even when we’re pressed for time. Walking up the stairs at the office, taking the bins out and cleaning the house all keep us active.


6. This time its personal

As with most things in life, having a solid plan in place is important, and the same applies to fitness. “Having a personalised plan that takes into consideration our unique [lives] enables us to achieve our goals… making it more enjoyable and sustainable,” Vitality Coach, Andrew Isaac, says.

A personalised plan can include targeted exercises, NEAT activities (see trend 6 below) and calorie intake. Plus the rise in wearables with AI, it’s easier than you think to create your own plan.

Vitality partner, Garmin, offers more than 40 animated workouts through the Garmin Connect app. “If you are trying yoga for the first time, for example, you can watch the move before you perform it and be guided through the workout with your Garmin,” explains Garmin’s Senior Product Category Manager, Richard Robinson.

7. Electrolytes, lytes baby

Do you know your potassium from your sodium? These little beauties belong to a mineral group called electrolytes – and the market for them is on the rise. You might be familiar with certain orange-tinted sports drinks that contain electrolytes, but they can also be obtained through eating fruits and vegetables. But what exactly are they and why are they important? 

In short, they are “chemicals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water,” says Andrew. “We need them in our systems to survive, as our nerves and muscles need this electric current in order to function,” he adds. They can also prevent illness, which develop through loss of sweat and help the body to rehydrate and recover quicker.

8. Keep your cool 

We don’t always give as much attention to our recovery as we should. Cool-downs can sometimes seem like a laborious task after doing exercise, but it’s a must to make sure our muscles recover.

In 2024, though, the ways of recovery are set to hot up... or the opposite, as the case may be. Cold-water therapy is a hard-and-fast way to help muscles recover, tipped to be a fitness focus for the year ahead.

Not only does it benefit our muscles, immersing ourselves in cold water can also reduce pain overall as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory. Check with your GP before you try cold-water therapy, and make sure you start slowly and build up.


9. Embracing the alternative 

As a nation, we’re becoming more clued up about how our mind and body are connected. We are living through some very testing times and stress is, unsurprisingly, on the rise, which can take its toll on our physical health. Stress can be responsible for poor sleep, high blood pressure, gut issues, panic attacks and for women, it can affect the menstrual cycle[2].

Shani has noticed an increase in clients booking onto her retreats and calmer yoga or meditation classes. “People are in need of moments to reset, to undo the busyness of their minds and to find stillness, physically and mentally.”

10. I cant get no (decent) sleep

You would think that the importance of a good night’s sleep is a no brainer. But according to recent research from Vitality, 50% of Brits aren’t getting the recommended seven hours of sleep a night[3], which is essential for physical and mental health. This lack of sleep can lead to brain fog and an increase in appetite, as well as more serious long-term health effects such as cardiovascular disease.

Dr Roshane Mohidin, NHS GP and Vitality’s Head of Health Improvement, says that making small changes such as “limiting screen time before bed, increasing the amount of physical activity you’re getting or reducing your caffeine intake in the afternoon” can make a big difference.

As a Vitality member, you could get discounts on a range of fitness trackers. Available with qualifying health insurance and life insurance plans. Once you’ve chosen your device, you can link it to your Vitality account through the app and start earning active points today.

And, did you know that your phone is already tracking your steps. You’re already doing the hard work, so why not get rewarded for it. Take 2 minutes to connect your phone today and start earning rewards.

So, what are you waiting for? Start earning your points by logging into Member Zone today. T&Cs apply.

[1] Mindbody & Classpass 2024 Prediction Report

[2] Research by UK Charity Mind, 2022

[3] Research conducted by Opinium with Vitality, 2023

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