The past decade has seen a steady rise in the number of women taking part in sports and people taking up a huge range of sports and different types of exercise. Some of those started off as trends but are now fully ingrained in our culture and daily lives. Comedy films now exist about our desire to achieve goals, like Brittany Runs A Marathon, meeting up with friends in Sweaty Betty lycra is as normal as wearing wearing jeans and social media has given rise to more people taking on extreme challenges.
Spin cycling I don’t know about you, but looking back, the explosion of ‘fitness made fun’ for me was helped with the arrival of spin cycling classes. The upwards rise of spin cycling has led to it being a cut-throat environment for both instructors and studios, particularly in London. Arguably a handful have truly been successful; Barry’s Bootcamp, 1Rebel, Soul Cycle, Boom Cycle and Digme are a few who’ve become household names in London.
Edge Cycle, a studio I had reviewed, was one of the many spin studios to suffer from the spin cycling wars and closed down.
Obstacle course race (OCR) races There was definitely a point when obstacle course races reached popularity peak. Organising OCRs does come with its high costs and over the years, many have closed.
These races gained popularity through the likes of Men’s Health’s Survival of the Fittest – there was a point when almost every runner in the City wore those finisher t-shirts! Spartan Races and Tough Mudders helped catapult them into a greater spotlight – I’ve enjoyed my fair share of sliding through muddy fields with the likes of Dirty Dozen, Tough Mudder and Spartan. I love the combination of challenging obstacles, running and getting well and truly muddy.
Triathlons – consisting of swimming, cycling then running – come in a range of distances. Since the first one in 1983 in Britain, the number of people taking part in them has increased massively over the years, especially in the past ten years. The number of women taking part in triathlons has also increased with more women than men taking them on as novices.
I enjoyed training and taking part in Ironman UK – for me, with the various obstacles I had to tackle, it encouraged me to step outside my comfort zones. Since then, I’ve done the Woburner Middle distance and Grafman triathlons. Training for triathlons has also encouraged me to learn how to become more disciplined and organise my time better.
Women lifting weights One of the best parts about the decade was that more women have been lifting taking up lifting weights. Bro zones still exist but I think so much progress has been made in combatting gymtimidation and encouraging women to lift weights. Women lifting weights has increasingly become normalised and we’ll see this rise over the next few years.
Recovery and nutrition As more of us take on endurance sports and other sports, knowing about recovery and nutrition has become more important. Through the decade we’ve gone through different food trends like keto, low carb high fat, macro counting and clean eating. I won’t lie; macro counting and clean eating were two diet trends I found myself submerged in, thinking I was eating healthier. Recoverywise, more of us are using epsom salts, cold baths and buying all the recovery tools and tech The sports massage therapist, probably once seen as someone exclusive for the professional athletes, is now visited by many of the everyday athletes.
What is there to say about marathons? The numbers are increasing. Marathon PBs are being chased more than ever. Hunting down the six majors medals is on the bucket list for many. Travelling overseas for marathons provides an opportunity to explore and make a holiday out of it. As Eliud Kipchogee broke the 3 hour marathon record in 2019, we’ll see more people taking on the marathon distance for the first time and for others, they’ll have been inspired to challenge their limits.
Crossfit, originating from America like other sports, took off and helped to encourage more women to lift heavy weights. More and more crossfit boxes have opened up across the UK – where I live in the past few years alone, three crossfit boxes have opened up, with one of them opening a sister box on the opposite end of London.
The community nature of crossfit is very different to the communities from other sports. It’s difficult to describe but it’s a lot more open and draws you in from across beginners to the more advanced. It is very welcoming to women and men.
These are just some of the sport we’ve seen grow over the past few years. There’s so many more to include like cycling, SUP, HIIT and open water swimming. In the next few years, these are all going to continue to grow. With the likes of Ross Edgeley, Anna McNuff and Sarah Thomas completing extraordinary extreme challenges recently, I think these game changers have set the works to see more of us seeking to take part in unusual extreme challenges. Yet on the other hand, we’ll see gym-goers looking more at low impact exercise as opposed to high intensity exercise. Mental health will also play a part in our exercise regimes.
What do you think?