Fitness of the immediate future

Vendors of home equipment have reported consistently healthy sales figures.

Vendors of home equipment have reported consistently healthy sales figures.

As the first waves of 2012 crash against our temporarily cloud-covered shores, we usher in with anticipation a brand new season in the local health and fitness industry.

The most valuable investment of internet-surfing time you could possibly make today is a little research into the benefits of light to moderate exercise
- Matthew Muscat Inglott

In Malta we can pride ourselves with some top notch fitness professionals who continue to do a great job of keeping our scene up to date with all the latest methods and madness the wellness world has to offer.

Something I’ve always loved locally is the commitment to a down-to-earth sort of common sense that has thankfully prevented some of the more ridiculous offerings of the international fitness industry from ever reaching our islands; but what can we expect to see in the new year? Which offerings both old and new will prevail over the next 12 months and which will fall by the wayside?

Funky new training methods often build their credibility upon attacks on more traditional existing systems. The number one gym tradition that remains firmly on the receiving end of constant bombardments of criticism are our trusty traditional cardiovascular machines.

New types of group fitness classes are the first to declare themselves more fun and addictive than “boring old cardio training”. Commercials touting new abdominal training gadgets just love to depict pained and burnt-out gym users in agony on the treadmill and other bulky gym machines. But is it really the end for our good old friends? Despite their decidedly uncool image, ‘bulky’ gym machines have stood the test of time and I doubt we will see any demise in their use this year.

While new gadgets will continue to flood the market and prey on our lazy desires for better bodies in exchange for little to no physical effort, it is indeed only a matter of time before everybody realises that almost anything of value only comes in exchange for at least some investment of quality time and effort.

Cheesy fitness infomercials in a climate where consumer spending increasingly forfeits the frivolous, have their days numbered. Tried and tested traditional home fitness equipment like domestic exercise bikes and dumbbell sets on the other hand have never been more in demand. Vendors of home equipment have reported consistently healthy sales figures through the economic storms of late, as more people opt for the cost-effective train-at-home option.

Group-fitness classes continue to evolve and innovate, attracting the more sociable fitness enthusiasts among us. One phenomenon that certainly took the industry by storm last year was Zumba; a fusion of basic Latin American dance and traditional aerobics moves.

Catapulted and assisted in no small part by a highly slick international marketing campaign, this new group-fitness craze has lasted longer than many industry players initially predicted. Zumba have also successfully made the tricky transition into our very own homes by resurrecting the dormant home fitness DVD genre.

Now you can once again enjoy umphing up and down in front of your TV set in the comfort of your own home. And if you fancy something a little more chilled out, while yoga suffered somewhat of a near death experience last year, it also seems to be enjoying a second wind coming into 2012.

The internationally renowned hardcore method of training known as crossfit is now pretty much here to stay. The system has sparked a back-to-basics revolution the industry has been in dire need of. For the first time ever, crossfit was practiced in Malta last year and I hope the movement continues to gain momentum. We will certainly be delving a little deeper into the crossfit sensation again on these very pages in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled.

If you want to grab your fitness by the scruff of the neck and beat yourself into better shape this year, then crossfit is ready and waiting to lock horns with you.

Word through the grapevine has it that several new fitness centres will be opening up on the island in the coming months, showing that the local appetite for better fitness is finally starting to catch up with European leaders.

While the lack of physical activity promotion in Maltese culture remains the topic of much debate, fitness professionals are playing a major role in successfully instilling awareness among the population. As long as we continue to push the simple message that physical activity and healthy eating can help eliminate almost every major deadly disease attacking western civilisation today, then more people will continue to take their first logical steps into our fitness centres and health food shops.

So will 2012 bring about the end of the world? According to NASA, probably not, but it could very well bring about the end of the world as we know it. If we define the “world as we know it” as one in which millions of people in its supposedly developed quarters die needlessly every year of easily preventable diseases, then it’s seriously about time we moved on.

The most valuable investment of internet-surfing time you could possibly make today is a little research into the benefits of light to moderate exercise, and of simply cutting down on processed foods and replacing them with ones more natural and plant-based. If nations in 2011 could prove revolution is not just the stuff of history, then why not follow their lead and kick-start your own personal health revolution in 2012?

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