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Low-cost fitness options, such as jogging, are extremely popular | © Andrew Tanglao / Unsplash
Low-cost fitness options, such as jogging, are extremely popular | © Andrew Tanglao / Unsplash

10 Fitness Trends in South Africa

Picture of Carina Claassens
Updated: 21 February 2018

With something for every type of exerciser, these fitness trends from South Africa mean that there are no more excuses for skipping out on your daily dose of exercise. 

Adventure boot camp

This outdoor fitness programme is specifically aimed at women and boasts more than 60 studios across South Africa. The programme is all about community, and what’s more, it’s affordable. Classes are one hour long and run from Mondays to Fridays for four weeks, and includes everything from cardio to circuit training. All you need is to show up with a training mat, some light weights and your trusty trainers.


Calisthenics is centred around body weight training and has gained popularity thanks to it being a super-flexible exercise method, suiting pretty much any lifestyle. It’s all about using your own body to build muscle and tone, and no equipment is needed. Think push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks and planking. The best thing about this form of exercising is that you can do it wherever you are, and it’s great if you don’t enjoy a gym environment.

Group training

Group training is a wonderful way to get into exercising, as you’ll have people to encourage you, while also making training a social activity. Get a few friends together and work out a programme to suit all your needs; you’ll definitely feel motivated to keep going.

High-intensity interval training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become one of the most popular means of reaching weight-loss goals. It’s effective and, if done correctly, results are visible fast. HIIT consists of short bursts of hardcore cardio alternated with body weight exercises. You give it all you’ve got for 60 to 90 seconds and then it’s all change.

Laughter yoga

Yoga will always be a recommended form of exercise as it tones, strengthens, improves balance and stretches the body. But what is laughter yoga? Based on the notion that laughter is the best medicine, regardless of whether it’s genuine or not, this is a fun, but eccentric, activity for young and old. You’ll no doubt leave the studio feeling refreshed and happy. Although it’s not yet offered all over the country, yogis flock to studios in the Western and Eastern Cape.

Low-cost fitness

There’s no doubt that gym fees are expensive, and even worse is that many people end up paying a monthly fee without even attending. Life gets busy, but that doesn’t mean that exercising should take a back seat. Many South Africans are opting for budget-friendly options, which can be as simple as jogging after work or watching online exercise videos.


Pilates studios are found in just about every corner of the country, and the health-conscious among us are all realising its major health benefits. Those who practise pilates often do so religiously and continue the practice throughout their lives. The great thing about it is that, with slight adaptations to the exercises, anyone can do it, from pregnant women to the elderly.

Secret Sunrise

There’s something about getting up at the crack of dawn, heading to a secret destination, dancing and celebrating the sunrise, all before the day’s even started. Secret Sunrise started in Zambia and has since grown into a global movement. Sign up and head to the location (made known just before the event), where you’ll be given wireless headphones allowing you to listen to music while connecting with yourself and nature.

Wearable tech

Wearable tech has never been more popular. Fitness fanatics and newbies are swapping their wristwatches for something much more advanced. Today, you should be able to keep track of your resting heart rate, total steps walked and how many hours you slept – you name it, there’s a gadget to do it.

Running clubs

Running clubs allow members to get outside, meet new people and compete together, while getting fit at the same time. As with group training, it’s much easier putting those trainers on after a long day at work if you know your buddy will be joining you. South Africans are so into running clubs that they’ve combined it with another favourite, wine. Wine farms in the Western Cape have jumped on the bandwagon and host wine-tasting and running events all the time, where runners literally swap water stops for wine tasting. Keep an eye on your favourite wine farm’s social media pages for upcoming events.