Every now and again, a new fitness fad takes the industry by storm. There’s always a new workout or diet or even a fancy gadget. This year was no different, filled with group trainings, fitness trackers and all varieties of yoga.
In Singapore, people have taken to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and dance-based fitness activities like Zumba. And, of course, these are all monitored by smartwatches that do everything from tracking your heart rate and counting steps to scheduling your training sessions, stopping just short of actually cooking you that diet meal.
1. Group Workouts
From weekend bootcamps to families working out together, group activities are a big hit in Singapore. There is an increasing interest in small group workouts; whether they consist of a family of parents and children, just siblings, or friends, by training together, the people in the group keep each other going.
“Women love group exercise,” Haslinda Ali, a fitness expert and founder of activewear retailer Fitfab, told My Salaam. “They like the solidarity and the support that comes with it. The group support, in fact, helps them stick to the lifestyle. And there is the excitement of a social gathering; they coordinate their outfits and keep motivating each other.
Dance-based workouts are here to stay. A variety of these are being offered as group workouts across the island. Zumba has long been a favourite, while piloxing (a combination of pilates, boxing and dance) is a relatively new entrant.
“Women will love dance-based activities,” Haslinda said. “Singapore being multiracial, we have so many choices here. Muslim women may choose a class in a closed environment or sign up for studios that have enclosed spaces where only women go. But no matter where it is, dance-based workouts are always fully subscribed.”
3. Strength Training
Women are increasingly taking to strength training, viewing it as an essential part of their workout, over and above regular exercise like walking or swimming. Haslinda noted, “It used to be that Muslim women used to shy away from going to a gym because it is a mostly male space. But those barriers have broken, and today you will see several hijabis lifting weights in gyms.”
The popularity of yoga has been soaring quickly. No longer restricted to any one community, it is now considered a great exercise option for overall wellbeing. Indeed, several varieties of yoga classes are now being offered. “I am using meditation to calm myself and understand who I really am,” said Zai Miztiq, life coach and a yoga practitioner. “Yoga and meditation coupled together have helped me through my difficult phases. And continue to help me.” With further emphasis on flexibility and mobility training, stretching exercises are also gaining traction.
Muslim fitness apparel has come a long way. Today, you have activewear hijabs in different colours and cuts, including a ninja-style hijab. There is now a demand for brighter colours in hijabs and sleek silhouettes for gym-wear. Also in favour are long hoodies with full sleeves. Moreover, the availability of more options in swimwear has led to swimming becoming less and less of a rarity among Muslimahs.