Much like the rise and fall of past decades’ fitness trends — remember vibrating belts and aerobic VHS tapes? — these past 10 years have been full of fitness trends that got popular pretty quickly, and then faded into obscurity. The 2010s weren't immune to their share of fitness trends that changed how we think about fitness — look at how many people use a step tracker, for example. But while some are still going strong, other exercise trends from the '10s have already completed their final set.
Now, before I go getting all haughty and personal trainer-y and dismiss these trends as mere fads that were a total waste of gym time, I should say this — these trends all have kernels of awesome in them. Yes, they're largely based in making money. In 2019 alone, fitness and health was a nearly $100 billion dollar industry worldwide and growing, according to Wellness Creative Co., a health and fitness content marketing company. Fitness trends don't only bring in the big bucks, though. They've also popularized some grains of exercise science that would otherwise stay locked up in academic journals, and brought different kinds of physical activity into people's lives.
But, just as nothing gold can stay, one cannot simply paddleboard yoga for every workout (but if you try, I'll gladly join you). Here are the seven of the weirdest fitness trends of the decade you definitely forgot you took a class on.
Barefoot running took off early in the decade just as shoe company Vibram sold those shoes with individual toes that were supposed to simulate barefoot running while strengthening foot muscles. In a country full of concrete, though, barefoot running just didn't cut it, because the shock of the unforgiving ground has to go somewhere; if not to your sneaker, then to your foot. In 2014, Vibram actually paid out a $3.75 million settlement after a class-action lawsuit claimed they "overstated health benefits of wearing the shoes," the magazine Canadian Running reported. Bye bye, "barefoot" running on the pavement.
It's not a real list about fads without a made-up word of some kind. Enter plogging: A mash-up of "jogging" and "plucking," the plogging trend came over to the U.S. from Sweden around 2017. And what exactly is plogging? Jogging while plucking up trash from the streets, of course! Since this trend reached its height later in the decade, the verdict is still out as to whether it will stick around, but one thing's for sure: there are worse fitness fads than jogging that tries to be eco-friendly.
The Shake Weight
When the Shake Weight debuted in 2009, many might have found its inadvertently sexual commercial hilarious, but that didn't stop the shakeable vaguely dumbbell-shaped weight from making $40 million in sales by mid-year 2010. And even though a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise found that the Shake Weight actually activates more muscle fibers than traditional dumbbell exercises, the unfortunate marketing might just have been what sank this proverbial ship.
If you weren't on board with the original Wii Fit in 2007 (or even if you were), the '10s saw a resurgence of "exergames" with products like Nintendo's updated Wii Fit U. This new version wasn't just meant to get you moving during a particular game: instead, the thing tracks your movement all day long, a precursor to the wearable fitness tech trend we know will be sticking around for the long haul.
As the decade ends, Nintendo is teasing a ring-shaped update to Wii Fit that's meant to work with your Nintendo Switch, dubbed Switch Fit by the ever-creative interwebs. But as tech gets better, this new-fangled stuff will probably be nothing like the good old-fashioned exergames of yesteryear.
Originally conceived around the early '90s by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez, Zumba skyrocketed in popularity in the past decade, with over 100,000 people signing up to be Zumba instructors across the globe by 2012, according to The New York Times. While you may still hit up Zumba class with your mom from time to time, you may not remember Aqua Zumba, aka Zumba in a pool. Along with hydrospinning (yep, spin class, pool-style), this aquatic-based turn of group fitness seems to have peaked in the middle of the decade. But I'm sure you can still find a pool and get your groove on if you wanted.
You read it right. Boutique trampoline classes were definitely a thing this decade. The idea is that you can increase balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health with the low impact, quasi-flying sensation of trampoline moves. And, according to a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, that idea is correct. The 2016 study found that exercising on a mini-trampoline can improve your cardiovascular health just as much as running, but with less joint impact and more giggles. And who hasn't needed more giggles this past decade?
All of these fitness trends may rise and fall according to the whims of the market, but they've also brought people a lot of joy (and sweat). Joy can be hard to come by, perhaps especially when it's associated with working out and the body-shaming often associated with it. If one or more of these trends brought you happiness, or continues to do so, have at it. Because you definitely deserve more joy in your life.
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