While the resolve to keep fit might have escaped you twenty mince pies into December, as soon as the calendar turns, you’re suddenly buzzing with enthusiasm to hit the gym and sweat out the boozy mistakes of the festive period.
Fortunately for those of us who indulged a little too much over Christmas, it’s never been trendier to keep fit, and as more people discover the benefits of living a legging-clad lifestyle, the fitness industry has been discovering new and exciting ways to keep us sweating. So while 2016 was all about boxing, ballet and hybrid classes, this year has a whole new swathe of ‘happening’ workouts ready put you through your paces.
Here’s how you’ll be limbering up this year…
2016 was the year we all married our favourite styles of exercises together – such as Pilates and HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and boxing and cardio. These hybrid workouts are set to continue for 2017, but taken one step further – by incorporating our minds as well as our bodies. We’ve all heard of the benefits of mindfulness, and this year the meditation trend is set to be big news in the fitness industry. Think “mindfulness and HIIT”, “Yoga and dance” or “meditation with kickboxing”. According to a wellness expert at the Balance Festival, “this trend is about people embracing the idea that working out the mind is just as important as the focus we already have on the body.”Fitne
Unless you kick the remote control under the sofa, you probably don’t spend a lot of your time crawling around on your hands and knees. But according to reports, crawling is set to be big news for 2017, so much so it’s being dubbed “the new plank”. Not only does the movement help to give the body a good core-strength workout, it can also help to ease gently ease back problems.
Health news in pictures
Most child antidepressants are ineffective and can lead to suicidal thoughts
The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned. In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide
‘Universal cancer vaccine’ breakthrough claimed by experts
Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body’s immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature, an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients’ immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice, according to researchers, who were led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany
Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome
A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”
New online test predicts skin cancer risk
Health experts have created a new online tool which can predict a person’s risk of developing a common form of skin cancer. The tool uses the results of a 10-question-quiz to estimate the chance of a person aged 40 or over of having non-melanoma skin cancers within three years. Factors including the age, gender, smoking status, skin colour, tanning ability, freckling tendency, and other aspects of medical history are covered by the quiz
Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’
A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS
Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed
Dementia patients experience a ‘shocking’ variation in the quality of hospital care they receive across England, a charity has warned. Staff using excessive force and not giving dementia patients the correct pain medication were among the findings outlined in a new report by The Alzheimer’s Society, to coincide with the launch of Fix Dementia Care campaign
Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day
Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women
Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes
Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes
A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed
Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age
Warning over Calpol
Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened
Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes
Less than half a teaspoon of fat is all that it takes to turn someone into a type-2 diabetic according to a study that could overturn conventional wisdom on a disease affecting nearly 3 million people in Britain. Researchers have found it is not so much the overall body fat that is important in determining the onset of type-2 diabetes but the small amount of fat deposited in the pancreas, the endocrine organ responsible for insulin production
Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer
Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer
Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease
Scientists have pinpointed how connections in the brain are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in a study which it is hoped will help in the development of treatments for the debilitating condition. At the early stages of the development of Alzheimer’s disease the synapses – which connect the neurons in the brain – are destroyed, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia. The synapses are vital for brain function, particularly learning and forming memories
The Government should introduce a sugar tax to prevent an “obesity crisis” from crippling the NHS, a senior Conservative MP and former health minister has said. Dr Dan Poulter believes that the case for increased taxes on unhealthy sugary products was “increasingly compelling”
Cancer breakthrough offers new hope for survivors rendered infertile by chemotherapy
A potentially “phenomenal” scientific breakthrough has offered fresh hope to cancer patients rendered infertile by chemotherapy. For the first time, researchers managed to restore ovaries in mice affected by chemotherapy so that they were able to have offspring. The scientists now plan to begin clinical trials to see if the technique, which involves the use of stem cells, will also work in humans by using umbilical cord material and possibly stem cells taken from human embryos, if regulators agree
Take this NHS test to find out if you have a cancerous mole
An interactive test could help flag up whether you should seek advice from a health professional for one of the most common types of cancer. The test is available on the NHS Choices website and reveals whether you are at risk from the disease and recommends if you should seek help. The mole self-assessment factors in elements such as complexion, the number of times you have been severely sunburnt and whether skin cancer runs in your family. It also quizzes you on the number of moles you have and whether there have been any changes in appearance regarding size, shape and colour
Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’
Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information
A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support
Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK
Pendle in Lancashire has been named the most anxious place to live in the UK, while people living in Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland have been found to be the happiest
Ketamine could be used as anti-depressant
Researchers at the University of Auckland said monitoring the effects of the drug on the brain has revealed neural pathways that could aid the development of fast-acting medications.
Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain
A prosthetic hand that lets people actually feel through
The technology lets paralysed people feel actual sensations when touching objects — including light taps on the mechanical finger — and could be a huge breakthrough for prosthetics, according to its makers. The tool was used to let a 28-year-old man who has been paralysed for more than a decade. While prosthetics have previously been able to be controlled directly from the brain, it is the first time that signals have been successfully sent the other way
The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat
Unhealthy eating has been named as the most common cause of premature death around the globe, new data has revealed. A poor diet – which involves eating too few vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and too much red meat, salt and sugar – was shown to be a bigger killer than smoking and alcohol
Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age
Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age
Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer
The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences
DNA-testing your workout
According to experts, not all fitness has optimum benefits for everyone – and this year we’ll be capitalising on that. DNA testing allows you to find out the fitness and nutrition programme to suit your genes. It may sound like something from an episode of Black Mirror, but visionary fitness studio Ethos is leading the way with this advanced fitness testing. Its DNAfit programme provides a detailed health report which can help you to construct bespoke exercises to build power and endurance and aid recovery. It will also provide a detailed breakdown of your macro- and micro-nutrient needs.
Dump your dumbbells and bin your boxing gloves: this year we’ll all be slacklining. Similar to walking a tight rope, slacklining involves balancing on a strip of webbing fixed above the ground, but not purposely not pulling it taut. Not only does it help you to balance, but slacklining requires the complete use of your body, engaging all your muscles at once. The trend is set to pop up in the capital’s green spaces, where slackliners use trees as anchors. And expect to see dedicated fitness gear for slackliners emerge in sports shops.
Aerobics is back
Step aerobics swept the nation in the 1980s thanks to Jane Fonda, and now it’s time to pull out your high-waisted leotard once again – because dance and aerobic style classes are heading for a major resurgence. The benefits of regular sessions include improving coordination and agility, while providing cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Frame in Shoreditch already runs a fabulously retro ’80s aerobics class which lets you tone your buns of steel to the sounds of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Duran Duran.
The trend for getting your groove on to your favourite hits continues with dance classes dedicated to perfecting your best Beyoncé hair flip or Rihanna twerk. This year we’ll be ditching the HIIT classes and yoga flows at traditional gyms in favour of dance studios like Seen on Screen, where trained dancers will walk you through the steps to the songs of the moment. Not only does it trigger a rush of the mood-elevating hormone oxytocin, you’ll be able to throw down on the dance floor next time you’re out with your pals, too.
Wearable fitness tech
Wearables were big news in the fitness industry in 2016, and this trend is set to grow stronger. Expect a shift from tracking fitness to monitoring overall health, such as blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Expect wearable devices like the Fitbit and Jawbone to be upgraded, and look forward to virtual reality technology, the next great leap in fitness tech.
Yes, you heard correctly. Sleep is set to be a fitness trend to watch out for in 2017. With the rise in high-intensity workouts, lunchtime classes and 24-hour gyms, our fitness schedules are wearing us out. All this bending, flexing and crunching must be tempered by much-needed rest. There has already been a huge surge in meditation, mindfulness and night-time yoga classes to aid sleep and to relax and unwind. Expect a rise in boutique meditation studios and even flotation classes to help you to catch some extra Zzzs on the go.
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