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Fitness trends of 2016

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For the tenth year running, the American College of Sports Medicine has published its annual survey of worldwide fitness trends for 2016, many of which have already proven popular in Singapore. Have tried any of these in your workout regime?

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Wearable technology

With brands like Garmin, Fitbit and Jawbone taking over the market with its wearable sports trackers, it’s no wonder wearable technology comes in first in the fitness trends survey. These new-age sports bands boast functions such as a heart rate monitor, step tracking, sleep monitoring, built-in GPS, and the ability to sync across multiple devices.


Fitness trackers are suitable for all age groups, but are more apt for those trying to get a clear view of how far they are from achieving their fitness goals.


Body weight training

Being able to work out anywhere and anytime is one of the biggest advantages of body weight training. Body weight training requires no equipment and can easily be done within the comforts of your own home. Many HIIT workouts, which are discussed later on in this article, and workout programmes are now incorporating body weight training.


Push-ups, sit-ups, squats and burpees are just some moves that use body weight as a form of resistance. Multiple muscle groups can be targeted, and most importantly, body weight exercises strengthen your core. Body weight training should prove to be a challenging and efficient workout for any fitness level and age group.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

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HIIT involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Fitness studios have been offering group classes that involve HIIT workouts, while online workout videos also feature short HIIT routines that are three to 10 minutes long.


HIIT involves both cardio and strength training, and is popular because it is time-efficient, helping to burn more calories in a short spurt than you would a regular jog. Similar to body-weight training, HIIT also requires no equipment. Nevertheless, due to its high intensity, HIIT is not recommended for the injury-prone or older individuals.


Strength training

Strength training uses weight resistance to stimulate development of muscle strength, with the use of free weights, machines or even body weight. It can be incorporated in HIIT workouts, but the intensity can be adjusted according to fitness level.


Particularly for older adults, strength training is important to help preserve and enhance muscle mass, which naturally diminishes with age. It’s also appropriate for those who would like to tone up their bodies and prevent the build-up of fat. However, training with heavy weights is not recommended for maturing teens as it could cause injuries to their growing bones.


Personal training

Personal training has found itself in the top 10 of the survey for nine straight years. Personal trainers have made themselves accessible to help individuals achieve their fitness goals – be it at commercial gyms, on a freelance basis, or at dedicated personal training centres.


What works for one person may not work for another – the biggest advantage of this form of training would be the personalised fitness plans and one-to-one attention provided by personal trainers. If you find it difficult keeping to a fitness plan or achieving your fitness goals on your own, a personal trainer could be a good option.

 Fitness TrendsPhoto: Shutterstock

Functional fitness

A fitness programme that mimics the activities performed in daily life, functional fitness helps to improve core strength, stability, mobility, overall muscular endurance, balance, range of motion, and movement patterns.


Functional fitness is more popular amongst older adults or the elderly, as training to keep up with daily activities are a priority for these age groups. It is also suitable for those undergoing rehabilitation.



You can get access to yoga instruction and lessons from commercial gyms, yoga studios, private yoga instructors, as well as online or offline resources. Yoga also helps to relieve stress, promote weight loss, as well as the building and maintenance of muscle strength and flexibility.


For the younger ones, yoga can improve body awareness, and instill confidence due to its emphasis on strength rather than physical appearance. Young adults can benefit from the flexibility yoga provides, since it is easy to practice yoga anywhere, even while you travel. Older adults and the elderly can practice yoga to slow the aging process and reduce vulnerability to age-related ailments such as broken bones.


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