Yoga, dance and boxing amongst the most popular ways to stay fit while WFH

New study digs into the most popular global fitness trends during the pandemic

Woman boxing
(Image credit: Anastase Maragos on Unsplash)

Keeping fit when the most movement that's actually required of you is to travel between your bed and kitchen table requires some effort, as many new WFHers (the T3 team included) have found over the past year. Add into that the closure of gyms, and the result is a big shift in exercise trends around the world. 

Reebok has taken a dive into the activities we've been taking up to stay fit and healthy (both mentally and physically) during lockdown times. The brand partnered with health experts and psychologists, as well as analysing Google search numbers, Instagram data and media popularity (number of articles per year) to rank the 20 most popular types of exercises people are enjoying across the globe.

Topping the charts is yoga, with an average of 1.4 million searches each month, 89.6 million hashtags on Instagram and 27 million article shares this year. It's no surprise that so many are embracing yoga at the moment. It can have a hugely positive impact on mental wellbeing, is a great way to stretch out joints if you've been hunched over a computer all day, and can be done in even the most limited of spaces, with minimal equipment (head to our best yoga mats article to kit yourself out).

In at number 2 is in fact walking, which will come as no surprise to anyone who could now do their local, government-mandated daily route with their eyes closed. 

Dancing joins the party at number 3, for which we can partly thank (blame?) TikTok. As well as having physical benefits, dancing can also act as a mood-booster and stress-reliever. Dancing is a great exercise for "activating GABBA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) – this is an amino acid whose purpose is to calm the brain and act as a fire extinguisher to enable brain cells to suppress their activities,” elaborates Positive Psychologist Ruth Cooper-Dickson.

Those hunting for something more cardio-heavy may well have turned to boxing over the past year. Again, boxing can have great stress-relieving effects, albeit via the medium of violence rather than jazz hands or sun salutations. It's also a good way to focus the brain, says Confidence Coach and Physiotherapist Danny Greaves. When punching and engaging in footwork, "areas of the brain involved in complex skill learning and peripheral vision light up" and the brain increases the production of endorphins. Finally, punching also helps to relieve muscle tension. Browse our pick of the best boxing gloves to get started.

Check out the full list below. 

Reebok fitness trends infographic

(Image credit: Reebok)

[Via Reebok

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth is a lifestyle journalist specialising in sleep and wellbeing. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy for fear of getting smothered in the night. As well as following all the industry trends and advancements in the mattress and bedding world, she regularly speaks to certified experts to delve into the science behind a great night's sleep, and offer you advice to help you get there. She's currently Sleep Editor on Tom's Guide and TechRadar, and prior to that ran the Outdoors and Wellness channels on T3 (now covered by Matt Kollat and Beth Girdler-Maslen respectively).