2024’s Biggest Health and Fitness Trends

2024’s Biggest Health and Fitness Trends

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You’ll Bend, But Not Break

a man doing a yoga pose

The WFH revolution has its benefits, but thanks to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, our bodies are feeling the strain. Fed up with stiff hips and back pain derailing our efforts in the gym, we’ll start recognising the effects of poor posture on our ability to move well. According to Fiit’s Ian McCaig, so-called ‘recovery for performance’ is skyrocketing among everyday exercisers, with 34% of its members tackling mobility sequences. Online workout platform Les Mills+ has also seen a 55% increase in mobility sessions. With apps such as Pliability expanding to support running and weightlifting, and gyms adding stretching-specific classes to their timetables, mobility is due a new moment.


You’ll Sweat While You Shop

Taking the concept of shopping as a sport to the next level, sportswear and athleisure brands launching part-retail-store part-fitness-studio sites are on the rise. Gymshark now has a team of coaches working at its store on London’s Regent Street, while Under Armour’s latest UK shop houses a performance centre for shoppers to undertake next-level coaching and physiological assessments. With Alo Yoga bringing its stores-cum-yoga studios to the UK next year, and Nike debuting US-based boutique fitness spaces that will sell its merch, try before you buy is about to take on a new meaning.


You’ll Take a High-performance Holiday

a person enjoying a performance holiday

Surveys suggest 43% of us would choose a hotel based on its wellness amenities, while 73% expect our time abroad to improve our wellbeing – and not just for as long as the Paloma buzz lasts. But when it comes to healthy holidays, beach massages are basic fodder. Six Senses Ibiza’s new ‘longevity bar’ offers diagnostic testing and biohacking treatments, notes The Future Lab’s Olivia Houghton, while at Siro in Dubai, 3D body scanning and infrared therapy are available. With Equinox Hotels debuting in Saudi Arabia, and fitness trainer Harry Jameson’s hospitality concept Pillar Wellbeing collabing with luxury hotels, forget the fly’n’flop – your next trip will be performance-driven.

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You’ll Work For #BrainGains

a man wearing a wave neuro headset

Adding another step to your self-care routine, in 2024 our shelves will be increasingly stacked with pills and potions designed to boost our brains. Heights, which makes smart supplements that purport to enhance cognition, has been endorsed by everyone from endurance coach Chris Taylor to entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, while this year functional beverage brand Trip has seen sales of its nootropic-infused drinks and CBD spike by over 500%. With hi-tech devices such as Wave Neuro and Sens.ai claiming to enable the quantification and enhancement of brain function at home (the latter just launched in the UK), we could soon see training programmes that are aimed at reshaping brainwaves, not just bodies.


You’ll Drink In Highs, Not Hangovers

Now that we’re no longer forced to quench our thirst with Beck’s Blue or lime soda, the latest evolution of the no- and low-alcohol boom will see non-drinkers sipping on zero-proof spirits delivering a better-for-you buzz. Packed with nootropics and adaptogens that claim to boost mood and focus, much-hyped US drinks brand Three Spirit has recently landed in the UK. Meanwhile, London’s new booze-free beverage store Club Soda stocks everything from non-alcoholic spirits such as Sentia – featuring GABA, a chemical that targets the brain receptors responsible for sociability – to mildly caffeinated social elixirs evoking the same euphoria as that first cocktail. ‘Whether plant-based or lab-made, there’s a growing desire for alcohol alternatives delivering feelings of emotional and social openness,’ says the GWI’s Beth McGroarty.


Pilates Will Stretch In New Directions

a man and woman doing pilates

Pilates is back in vogue. And with a number of male athletes and A-listers advertising its benefits (see: Harry Styles’s abs), this time its fan base isn’t just female. From mat to machine, sculpting classes (a subset of Pilates, yoga and strength training) were the fastest-growing workout segment in 2022, per ClassPass. Similarly, Les Mills has seen a 63% rise in Gen Z members attending reformer Pilates classes, and in response, it’s rolling out additional Pilates-based workouts. For at-home exercisers, fitness studio Heartcore is launching a connected version of its Coreformer (a souped-up reformer bed), while Aussie import Strong Pilates (a part-Pilates, part-rowing concept) gives the benefits of a good stretch alongside the endorphins. Still not sold? Search for #RealMenDoPilates on Instagram.

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Living Well Will Trump Living Longer

a glass jar full of candy

Self-injecting the blood of your offspring to reverse ageing is a step too far for most men, but thankfully there are simpler approaches. ‘Emerging longevity developments are looking beyond age-hacking to focus on extending quality of living,’ says Houghton. We’ll begin to see a focus on behaviours to future-proof health, says Chris Ashenden from Athletic Greens, whose supplements support daily health. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, IV drips and home- testing kits sell themselves as an accessible way to optimise your healthspan. ‘Longevity has become the new pillar in wellness,’ says McGroarty. Not sure where to start? Peter Attia’s bestselling book Outlive is a no-BS guide to the basics.


Your Count Will, Erm, Count

‘Just as we’ve seen with women, men too will become motivated to address fertility issues,’ says Houghton. ExSeed lets men test sperm volume and improve fertility via their smartphone, while Tesco shoppers can pick up Newfoundland’s affordable self-test kits. ‘The societal emphasis on a woman’s role as a caregiver and parent has created an imbalance in how we think about fertility,’ claims DIY testing brand Legacy – with sperm counts worldwide halving over the past 50 years, it’s about time men entered the conversation.


You’ll Hybridise Your Training

hyrox event

Typically separated into two camps – strength or endurance – the lines between training styles are blurring, says Fittest PR’s Kate Burton-Barlow. Pioneered by athletes such as Fergus Crawley and Nick Bare – both of whom can deadlift 500lbs and run a sub 5-minute mile on the same day – the approach is gaining momentum. Fitness race organiser Hyrox hosts hybrid classes at Third Space, The Gym Group and others, while apparel brands such as Rad are launching cross-training shoes. Beyond the hype, swapping specialism for generalism supports day-to-day health and injury prevention. Why choose one when you can do both?

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Home Recovery Will Rule

a man working out on a barbell
Analyn Maer

No longer limited to elite locker rooms, contrast therapy (a cold plunge session followed by a sauna), pneumatic compression and hyperbaric chambers are becoming more accessible, says Hyperice’s Anthony Katz, whose Normatec recovery boots revive muscles while you just sit and scroll. Kineon’s laser therapy device is designed to reduce pain and stimulate healing, while bringing the benefits of recovery home, says Burton-Barlow. Up next, wellness club Remedy Place has plans to install full-blown recovery rooms in the homes of the performance-obsessed – for whom an ice barrel in the garden won’t cut it. No space in your studio flat? Visit Third Space, Equinox or BXR for cryotherapy, compression sleeves and more.


You’ll Play Games With Your Health

a man looking at a computer screen

The gamification of fitness will go mainstream, predicts Clive Ormerod, as he points to Les Mills’ bestselling Bodycombat VR app for proof. Getting in on the action, Peloton recently launched Lanebreak, a music-based experience featuring challenges for points, while Zwift’s new handlebar-mounted controllers allow riders to better navigate its debut game. Inspiring the exercise-shy to get active – or as MH’s Tracey suggests, giving amateur athletes a dopamine hit from topping scoreboards – games such as Quell’s Shardfall (where users fight their way through fantasy worlds) are injecting some fun into shaping up. With tech giants Meta and Apple also entering the arena, the games should well and truly begin in 2024.


You’ll Make Friends With Benefits

a group of surfers walk through the water
Uwe Krejci

Subverting masculinist stereotypes such as working out purely to get ripped and suppressing difficult emotions, 2024 will see the emergence of more spaces in which men can connect, talk and unlock a slightly healthier mindset, suggests McGroarty. Combating a harmful ‘friendship recession’, the rise of fun run clubs such as Your Friendly Runners enables individuals to be part of a tribe, says Burton-Barlow, while McGroarty highlights Rewilding’s Surf Retreats as an example of an initiative offering men a space to foster friendships, anchored by outdoor activities. With a crop of wellness-focused social clubs also welcoming men wanting to hang out and share experiences while boosting their health, embracing time with the boys might become your healthiest habit yet.

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Endurance Events Will Charge Forwards

a group of people riding bikes on a road
Ryan Sosna-Bowd

In his book Born To Run, Christopher McDougall suggests that times of uncertainty create a spike in endurance running. Amid multiple crises, it’s then perhaps no surprise that the popularity of endurance sports appears to be increasing in leaps and bounds. Record-breaking endurance athletes including Tom Evans and Kílian Jornet are leading the revolution. But amateurs are also lacing up for the limit-testing feats that have become the new fitness flex. New events such as British Triathlon’s Swim Bike Run are increasing accessibility, while fitness influencers such as Leon Bustin, who’ve swapped the CrossFit box for ultrarunning, are helping everyday athletes prepare for the challenge.


Wearables Will Work Even Harder

Steps, sleep, stress… If you thought your wrist- worn trackers were already watching hard enough, think again. Expanding its metrics, Whoop now measures the effect weightlifting has on your body, while Nix’s sweat patches evaluate your fluid and electrolyte losses in real time. Integration between devices is also expanding, suggests Fiit’s McCaig. Tracking performance irrespective of location or equipment, the latest version of Fiit’s wearable chest strap pulls metrics from connected kit brands such as Concept2, Assault Fitness and Keiser through to its app. And as therapy and coaching features add another dimension to your devices – from Oura’s partnership with teletherapy company Talkspace to Whoop Coach (the first AI health and fitness coach in a wearable) – your tech’s about to get even smarter.


You’ll Age Actively

Reminding all of us that growing older doesn’t have to mean slowing down, UK chain PureGym recently hosted a fitness competition exclusively for the over-50s. The move mirrored a shift that’s seeing ageing demographics challenge notions of how their twilight years should be spent, says Tracey. Spurred on by super-fit seniors such as CrossFit’s Clarke Holland, and increased awareness of the importance of staying strong and mobile into older age, Sport England estimates there are 1.3 million more active 55- to 74-year-olds compared with six years ago. With gyms including the YMCA offering classes for older adults, Hyrox including an 85-to-89 age bracket and Apple Fitness+ launching slick workouts for seniors, ageing actively is becoming the new ageing gracefully.

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Experiences Will Be Your New Rx

Gaining momentum, holistic prescriptions for everyday health concerns – from exercise to time outdoors, social connection and nutrition – will be taken more seriously, predicts McGroarty. Apps such as Zoe already deliver personalised eating plans to 50,000 users based on their biological responses to food, with founder Tim Spector championing precision nutrition’s role in treating mental and physical maladies. Elsewhere, prescribing time in nature is reported to have saved the NHS £635m in 2022. Signalling a wider shift, fitness giant Technogym claims to be readying for a future in which patients are prescribed an hour of exercise (on its equipment, presumably) daily, with healthcare providers footing the bill. It’s an approach McGroarty believes can ‘take wellness beyond the elites to those who need it most’.


You’ll Step Outside Your Fitness Zone

a man standing in water
Christopher Moswitzer

Outdoor recreation was supercharged by the pandemic, when a daily walk was akin to a luxury bootcamp. Today, outside activities, such as mountain hikes, feature on the feeds of many formerly gym-based fitness influencers, observes Tracey. Meanwhile, pickleball has everyone from Michael Phelps to your mum picking up a racket. Good for the planet and people, cities worldwide are cleaning up waterways to meet demand for wild swimming, says McGroarty. A bit feral for you? Try a rewilding spa.


Self-Care Will Be Served In The Gym

Gyms are championing a holistic way of remediating both the physical and psychological. Third Space members can now stack sound baths on to gym sessions, while Blokspace fuses fitness with immersive art. With research suggesting mental health treatments are more effective when combined with exercise, Hero Training Club clients are able to book counselling alongside boxing classes. According to Mindbody, 40% of us exercise to boost mental wellness… So maybe sweating the small stuff can be beneficial.

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You’ll Swot Up On Science

a man standing by a pool

Forget movie marathons and reality reruns, health-ed will be your favourite form of entertainment in 2024. Sitting within the UK’s top 20 podcasts, Zoe Science & Nutrition and The Huberman Lab have found a sweet spot translating science into practical health hacks for their audiences. James Clear’s Atomic Habits, which harnesses science-backed strategies to build healthy habits, remains in the UK’s top 10 books. And for those looking for lessons on longevity, Netflix’s Live To 100: Secrets Of The Blue Zones is currently trending. ‘We’re more eager than ever to learn about our health and how to take better care of ourselves,’ notes Ashenden. Huberman et al are providing the techniques minus all the woo-woo.


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