For most people, an exhausting workout in the gym is anything but fun. Many view rowing machines, treadmills and cross-trainers as instruments of modern day torture to be endured in the hope of a healthy life.
But in 2018, a fitness craze combining the antics of a high-speed game of Twister with an arcade dance game is expected to sweep across Britain.
Prama, which uses interactive flooring and flashing lights to tell participants their next move, boasts of how it has shunned traditional exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines.
And for those wanting to shed a few pounds after any overeating this Christmas, claims that you can burn 1,000 calories in 45 minutes may be particularly appealing.
David Lloyd health clubs are leading an expansion of Prama, a Spanish concept, in the UK in part because they believe families want to have fun and exercise together.
“Voice recognition devices have huge potential to get people being more active at home” Prof Sir Muir Gray
A survey by the health club company found that more than a third of families regularly exercise together. It is hoped the Prama exercise regime, which co-ordinates music, lights and monitors the participants heart rate and progress, will be seen as the latest family game.
The system, already a hit in European gyms, is to be rolled out across a number of their clubs next year.
While circuit training classes invariably involve people working at a set pace, this game uses a computer to set different levels at each section of the touch sensitive floor, featuring grids, patterns and numbers, so different age groups and levels of fitness can exercise at the same time.
Other exercises seeing a boom in the New Year include trampolining, “immersive spin” and voice recognition workouts.
Fitness experts are saying that technology and new twists on existing sports are proving increasingly popular.
Fitness body UK Active said trampolining had become a success story this year. Since the UK’s first dedicated park opened in May 2014, trampoline parks have spread across the country, with almost 200 now operating.
Kimberlee Perry, who founded fitness group Bounce later the same year, opening one studio, said numbers have swelled in the last year, with 500 classes a week now, compared with around 200 when the enterprise began. More than 25,000 people now take part in sessions at 126 studios each month, she said.
Devotees of trampolining say its high rate of calorie burning – around 700 calories an hour, around twice the rate of jogging – low impact on joints and the fact it builds core strength – gave it a broad appeal.
Elly Beaman-Brinklow, a personal trainer and fitness instructor from Brighton, said many women signed up for classes after being inspired by seeing their children bouncing around.
“Adults don’t normally get time to play. Trampoline classes are great for cardiovascular health, and pushing you out of a fitness plateau but more than that people find it so much fun to be jumping around listening to blaring music, rather than stuck on a treadmill,” said Miss Beaman-Brinklow, who runs classes at Sky High Trampoline park, in Peacehaven.
Prof Sir Muir Gray, clinical advisor to Public Health England, said voice recognition devices such as Amazon Echo could serve as in-house personal trainers, with users able to “ask Alexa” to give them an instant workout.
He said the devices were an ideal way to encourage older people to take exercise, with daily reminders and hints to prevent a slide into inactivity and frailty.
Sir Muir said: “Voice recognition devices have huge potential to get people being more active at home. They might seem like a novelty Christmas present at the moment, but for many people it’s just the sort of encouragement they need to keep on their feet maintaining healthy habits.
“The devices can serve as a sort of virtual personal trainer, guiding mini workouts in the home as well as offering suggestions for physical activity options in their local town.”
UK Active is also tipping “Immersive Fitness” as a big trend for next year.
The “spin” group workouts combine cinema size screens with pumping music and lasers, taking cyclists through a virtual world of mountains, glaciers and city skylines.
The concept, pioneered by Kiwi fitness giant Les Mills, creator of workout favourites like Bodypump, has seen soaring interest in the UK in the last year, with a 65 per cent increase in numbers attending classes at the fitness centres currently offering it.
The success of world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua – who this year opened his own boutique boxing gym – is likely to see continued expansion of boxing, and related classes, experts say, with increasing numbers of women taking up the workouts.
Steven Ward, chief executive of UK Active, said: “With technology helping to dissolve the physical barriers that have traditionally dictated how we move, we’re entering a brave new world of innovation with exciting opportunities to get more people, more active more often.
“This means there is huge potential for emerging technologies such as voice recognition, immersive fitness and Prama to shake-up our workouts, while traditional activities like boxing and trampolining are making a comeback thanks to a souped-up offering and their broad appeal.”
The not-for-profit health body said new ways to inspire activity were crucial, to tackle an epidemici of inactivity, estimated to cause 37,000 deaths annually.
The average Briton now walks for less than 10 minutes a day official figures show.
The top trends list has been released to mark the return of ActiveLab – a programme by UK Active which aims to unearth “the next Fitbit”, by matching startups with business investors and major players in the fitness sector.