Living back in New Zealand for a few months now has allowed me to get a greater insight into what is going on in the world of fitness on this side of the world.
Approximately 10% of New Zealanders belong to a recognised fitness centre or club. Although this figure may be low internationally, New Zealand has a very active population due no doubt to being blessed with a good climate and breathtaking scenery. Hiking, kayaking, skiing, multisport events, surfing, open water swimming are all very popular activities in New Zealand. It makes life a lot easier and a lot more motivating walking, running or hiking with the views that we have to offer!
I have seen similarities in New Zealand fitness trends with what is hot in Europe. The six hottest fitness trends in New Zealand (and notably also Australia) are
- Small Group Training
- Functional/Integrated Training
Crossfit is a high intensity workout that draws from numerous fitness disciplines (including weightlifting, rowing, gymnastics, boxing, running and combat) to create a varied and rewarding training program. It involves push-ups, squats, weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, pull-ups and object carrying. According to the 2012 Australian & New Zealand Fitness Industry Survey it’s one of the largest growing fitness trends across both countries.
Walking remains one of the most popular physical recreation activities. While younger New Zealanders may be drawn to higher intensity, fitness or gym-based activities, one out of three people in the country aged between 55 and 67 said they walked for exercise in a recent fitness survey.
Small group training
Kiwi’s have embraced small group training as an affordable alternative to personal training. Small group training offers the benefits of having a personal trainer to guide you through a series of personalized exercises but also encourages you to stick with your training program so you don’t let others in your group down. Groups typically range in size between 3 to 6 people and are often run outside in local parks to take advantage of the great weather. Boot Camps are another very popular group training activity.
Zumba is a dance-based fitness class that takes inspiration from Latin dance moves. The “fitness party” workout pairs calorie-burning samba, salsa, flamenco, mambo, hip hip and even belly dancing movements with Latin and international music to help people focus on having fun rather than thinking about working out.
TRX is a suspension-based workout that uses specially designed straps and your bodyweight to give you a full-body workout. The training tool is designed to be highly portable so you can set up and do your exercises just about anywhere. A TRX workout is crafted to help you build muscle, increase your flexibility, enhance muscle strength and improve your balance.
Having owned a TRX myself now for a year I have found this training to be an intense yet fun and motivating form of exercise. Being so easy to carry and set up anywhere this is a great exercise tool to take with you when travelling.
Functional training and integrated training are training programs that are designed to focus on movement and have a direct relationship with the activities you perform in your everyday life. Participants may use free-weights, bands, medicine balls, balancing boards and plyometric exercises to build their strength, increase their speed and agility, and to develop or enhance specific skills needed for other sports. I have personally found this invaluable as I have a lower back problem as well as when I was recovering from hamstring problems. Jari my Personal Trainer (Fitness guru at Grand Hotel Nordic Spa & Fitness, Stockholm) developed a fantastic program for me which has allowed me to continue with my active lifestyle.