Cover From breathable face masks to smart home spin bikes, we're listing the biggest health and wellness trends of the year (Photo: Courtesy of Under Armour)

As gyms close once again due to the fourth wave of Covid-19, we look back on the biggest health and wellness trends of the year

2020 put all health and fitness fanatics in a frenzy when gyms were forced to close during the first wave of Covid-19—but with limitations come with new ideas and innovations. 

After the first wave, Hong Kong slowly adjusted to the new Covid-19 world, welcoming gym alternatives, new at-home equipment and virus-friendly gear. From new at-home workout methods to a rise in focus on mindfulness, we rounded up the top health and wellness trends of 2020.

See also: Hong Kong Personal Trainers On How To Achieve Your Fitness Goals In 2021

Home Workouts

With the tightened social distancing regulations during the first wave of Covid-19 in Hong Kong, gym enthusiasts were devastated to hear about the temporary closure of gyms. While some stayed optimistic about the Covid-19 situation, we all quickly realised that the pandemic was here to stay, forcing us to look for at-home workout alternatives during WFH and quarantine days

Home workout options sky-rocketed during the months of March and April, with fitness YouTubers such as Chloe Ting flooding the internet. Hong Kong gyms followed suit and introduced variations of virtual exercises, whether it was pre-recorded and uploaded online, or done live through Zoom. 

Earlier this year, we rounded up the best online classes and workouts offered by local gyms and video game fitness workouts for all your home workout needs. 

Rise of At-Home Fitness Equipment

No gym, no problem. At-home fitness equipment became some of the most sought-after items this year as everyone scrambled to recreate a gym atmosphere at home. Decathlon struggled to meet market demands when their supply of dumbbells and kettlebells got snatched up from retail stores.

Some smaller, independent gyms in Hong Kong even started lending out their dumbbells and other small gym equipment to encourage gym-goers to stay active while gyms were closed.

See also: The Best Home Gym Equipment That Money Can Buy

Outdoor Workouts

If your Hong Kong apartment size kept you from having a good workout routine during quarantine, you’re not alone. Many of us took our sweat sessions to green parks and nature this year—a much-needed relief from being cramped at home all day.

Hiking trails and beaches were packed on the weekends, while popular parks such as Tamar Park in Admiralty and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park in Sai Ying Pun were oftentimes used as training grounds for personal trainers to hold private workout sessions. 

If you’re looking to go back to outdoor workouts, we covered everything from the best outdoor running trails, adrenaline-filled outdoor sports, to the best dog-friendly hikes this year.

Smart Home Workout Equipment

We’ve got smart home TVs, kitchen equipment and voice-activated speakers—so it only makes sense that our gym equipment is as equally as high-tech. From a full-sized interactive Kara Smart Fitness Mirror that allows you to broadcast and follow along with high-quality workouts, to Tonal’s digital resistance weight machine which features a LED screen, or Peloton’s full-featured spin bike that comes with a 21.5-inch touchscreen display, smart home gym equipment will only get bigger and better.

More recently, Apple announced Fitness+, a fitness experience built around the new Apple watch which allows users to stream ten different workout types from high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, dance to treadmill.

See also: 5 Hong Kong Wellness Influencers To Know From The Gen.T List 2020

Covid-19-Friendly Fitness Gear

Workout clothes had always been about comfort, performance, durability and style. In 2020, however, there’s an added requirement when we’re making a purchase: safety. 

For those who went back to the gym during the third wave when masks were made mandatory, you might have searched for breathable face masks such as Under Armour’s sports mask or Uniqlo’s Airism face mask. Other Covid-19-friendly items were also introduced including Rhanders’ antibacterial fitness gloves, bacteria-fighting towels from Mizu and Larq’s self-sanitising water bottle.

See also: Why Exercise Is More Important Than Ever and How to Stay Safe Doing It

Focus on Mindfulness

With the constant need to stay vigilant and safe this year, on top of the rising Covid case numbers, many people experienced some form of Covid fatigue or pandemic depression. Work-life balance became non-existent for some, as the lines between work and home become blurred due to home offices. Most of us were also unable to see friends and family as much, nor have the same amount of freedom to enjoy activities and hobbies we used to have. 

Covid fatigue and pandemic depression became more normalised and talked about this past summer, and people started paying more attention and awareness towards self-care and mental health. Topics such as weight gain, lowered productivity, burnout and anxiety gained traction as more people opened up about their experiences on social media. 

Whether you’re trying your best to survive fourth wave’s quarantine, deal with stress and anxiety, or looking to open up conversations with friends and family on mental health, we wrote a wide range of articles on mindfulness and mental health that may help you cope with the fourth wave.

See also: Hong Kong Personal Trainers On How To Achieve Your Fitness Goals In 2021