Like many countries, the UAE is struggling with its health. Over the last 5 years, the obesity levels have risen to double the global average. A study by the World Health Organisation found that 80% of men and 67% of women aged 15 years and above living in the UAE are overweight. Serious metabolic issues, including obesity, heart disease, immune diseases, and chronic pain are turning up at a higher rate, in younger and younger people than ever before. Prescription medication has often been used to mask these issues, with broad-spectrum antibiotics, heavy painkillers, blood thinners and a number of other drugs prescribed to the masses to reduce symptoms – never really dealing with the key issue: our lifestyle choices and daily habits.
In this context, many people in the UAE have started to make health and fitness their focus, placing a greater emphasis on regular exercise to keep a strong, fit and healthy body and mind. Over the last few years, Middle East has become a breeding ground for innovative workouts, with new boutique studios popping up in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Kuwait every month. Over the last year, there has been a rise in some specific workouts across the UAE, reflected in the number of studios, classes and people interested in these styles.
Here are 5 fitness trends that are taking over the Middle East for 2018
1. Hybrid classes
Hybrid workouts are the combination of 2 or more regular workout styles during one session. These workouts are usually more challenging and often much more interesting to complete. Hybrid classes have taken off over the last 6 months in the UAE and have been extremely popular for those who want something a little different in their exercise regime. Examples of hybrid workouts include cardio boxing, HIIT yoga, HIIT pilates and Aqua Spin classes.
Boxing is one of the best workouts for cardio fitness, coordination, and fast-twitch muscles. Since the beginning of the year, the number of studios offering boxing in the Middle East has grown exponentially. There is a range of styles that these boxing classes follow, from more martial arts based classes focused on technique and traditional practices, to cardio based boxing workings, focused on the endurance component of the practice.
Experts say the growing popularity of UFC in Western countries is the cause for the large spike in interest around this workout. One platform that offers a mix of martial arts, fitness boxing as well as kickboxing and traditional American boxing is GuavaPass – check out the current promotions here!
Although traditional yoga practices, including Raja, Karma, Jnana and Bhakti yoga, have remained a popular workout for thousands of years, modern yoga practices like Vinyasa, Power, Rope, Aerial and HIIT yoga have stolen the interest of many young fitness enthusiasts. The popularity of yoga in the last year has surrounded a few areas of interest. Although meditation proved to be an important part of the practice for many people, a surprising number of UAE residents fell into their yoga practice primarily because of social media, celebrity testimonials and the many fitness blogs across the area highlighting the benefits of practicing yoga, as well as the unique studios across the city.
With countless benefits on mental, emotional and physical health, there’s no wonder why yoga has continued to be one of the most popular workouts in the UAE, and across the globe.
4. Functional Training
Functional training workouts are focused on improving the functionality, efficiency and daily usage of your body. Exercises are originally based off primal movements, usually around push, pull or press classifications. Functional training involves resistance bands, kettlebells, free weights, ropes or body weight exercises, with the goal to increase mobility, improve core stability, balance muscle development on the right and left side of the body, and improve endurance in both your weight lifting and cardio.
Over the last year, functional training has risen to be one of the most popular workout styles in the UAE, with 1 in every 4 studios offering this all-encompassing workout. Check out the Functional Training studios on GuavaPass now – access exclusive discounts here!
5. Group Classes
Although there’s been a growth in the personal training sector since the end of 2017, group classes have still shown to be the preferred choice of those interested in fitness. Globally and across the Middle East, group classes are far more common than personal training, and for good reasons. In many studies, group training far outweighs personal or individual training, showing a greater amount of participants reaching their fitness goal if they started with group training, a greater amount of time spent working out, and overall more body fat lost.
Check out the range of group classes on GuavaPass here!