Why the A-listers are saying 'no' to crazy extreme exercising fad
Victoria Lambert welcomes a new trend that encourages us to exercise only in moderation
Feet up, everyone. Yes, you at the back: drop that 100lb bar bell, kick off your hi-tech trainers, bury the day-glo sweatbands and cancel Bikram yoga. Extreme exercising has run its course.
No longer do we have to sprint marathons while training for ultramarathons, take up Tough Mudder challenges, pose for six-hour hot yoga classes, or find an extra 90 minutes every day to sculpt our upper arms. For a new fitness fashion is coming in: moderation.
It started in Hollywood, of course. Former queen of looking lean, Jennifer Aniston, has confessed that she has let her intense exercise regimen slip a little - on purpose. Previously, the 45-year-old admitted she worked out "almost every day", doing "40 minutes of cardio: spinning, running, the elliptical, or a combination of all three", followed by weights and Pilates. But she's "eased up in the last couple of years'', and now recommends that women "take some time off and don't do anything and enjoy your life".
Singer Gwen Stefani agrees: "This past year, I kind of stopped working out," the 44-year-old said recently. "I think my body just needed a break. And so I did that and focused more on feeling good as opposed to beating myself up."
Meanwhile, the newer generation of female stars have never been that fussed about acquiring the muscle length or definition of your average Olympic gold medallist.
Model of the moment Cara Delevingne goes to the gym only twice a week, apparently, and even Coldplay star Chris Martin appears to be on trend after parting with gym maniac Gwynnie and starting his rumoured relationship with Jennifer Lawrence. His new girlfriend is reportedly no fan of exercise, working out only for her role in Hunger Games - mostly through skipping sessions.
Fitness expert Sophie Mathews, a former professional windsurfer and kiteboarder, thinks we're re-discovering the fundamental purpose of exercise: "Working out should benefit body and soul. It should be about overall well-being, not just how you look. Sophie admits she's been caught up in extreme fitness fads, such as the Insanity workout, which replaces traditional moderate-intensity exercise with maximum-intensity exercise, and trades short intervals of intensity for short periods of rest.
"I'm very fit, but I found some of these workouts too much. The secret has to be finding exercise that you enjoy but that is sustainable long term.''
We're also becoming smarter about time, says Sloan Sheridan Williams, a personal trainer and life coach. "Exercise should be something you can fit into your life, but these huge challenges - like 24-hour canoe rides or ultram-arathons - can take it over. I think people are increasingly looking for ways to exercise that they can share with family instead.''
Sloan Sheridan Williams also thinks we're getting wiser to the effects of physical burnout.
"People are becoming better informed about types of sport that can be beneficial, whether that means walking the dog, trying hatha yoga [which uses gentle stretches], or t'ai chi, low-intensity swimming or cycling.''
There's no doubt that some are maintaining intensity - although for much shorter periods of workout.
Hugely popular is High-intensity Intermittent Training, which involves very short bursts of high-energy exercise, and has been scientifically shown to be as good for the heart as longer, sustained workouts. Actress Helen Mirren also likes a fast fix: in July, she revealed that her fitness routine consisted of 12 minutes of daily Royal Canadian Air Force exercises.
Meanwhile, in New York, the Wall Street Journal has reported that bankers are now opting for running mile-long races instead of marathons, their enthusiasm supported by research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in July that said milers enjoy the same mortality-fighting benefits as marathoners.
Californian biomechanist Katy Bowman says that : "Walking is a superfood. It's the defining movement of a human. It's a lot easier to get movement than it is to get exercise."