Discover the health and fitness insights that made waves over the last 12 months – and use these important findings to help fuel an even fitter, healthier and happier year ahead.

#1 If you strengthen your body you could lengthen your life

A game-changing study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine has called out strength training as the most life-changing way to train. This came after a team of researchers found that when regular exercisers add resistance training to their routine the life-lengthening benefits of fitness increase exponentially. Discover the best approach to strength training for life.

#2 HIIT can cut cancer risk

Add HIIT workouts to your weekly routine and you could cut cancer risk and live happier for longer. Scientists from Tel Aviv believe high-intensity interval training has the power to create a metabolic shield against highly invasive cancer cells – and cut the risk of metastatic cancer by 72 percent. This is backed up by recent findings from Norwegian scientists who compared regular HIIT workouts against traditional cardio and found that HIIT has the most dramatic effect on quality of life and fitness levels, and the findings indicate it can help you live longer too. Find out the optimal HIIT prescription.

#3 There’s one secret to maintaining a healthy weight

Want to curb your cravings and make managing your weight sustainable? Experts recommend you start building muscle with resistance training. Researchers highlighted the importance of strength training when they identified how the loss of lean muscle tissue during weight loss bumps up the risk of weight regain in the long term. Find out what it is about stronger muscles that help regulate appetite.

#4 Pilates can get you seriously strong – fast

A 35% increase in abdominal endurance, 26% increase in back endurance and a 20% increase in balance and hip stability … Experts tested the effects of thrice weekly LES MILLS SHAPES™ workouts over six weeks and found important improvements that could help boost athletic performance, power and movement control, while also reducing the risk of injury. Learn more about the benefits born from this Pilates, power yoga and barre workout.

#5 Playing games can be really good for you

Kenneth L. Grimes was overweight, inactive and in a dark and lonely place when he found light inside the META’s Quest 2 VR headset. By combining walking with BODYCOMBAT VR workouts, Kenneth lost 263 lbs and found the confidence to start training for his first marathon. He is now happier and healthier and credits BODYCOMBAT VR as playing a fundamental role in his journey, “It has helped me climb out of a dark and scary place in my life.” See how exergames stack up against traditional workouts.

#6 Less movement can equal more health gains

Aerobic exercise is renowned for getting your heart pumping and building stronger cardio fitness. However experts believe that such high-energy movement is not the only option when it comes to improved heart health. Research suggests that isometric exercises (movements like planks, hovers and wall squats that engage your muscles without movement) can be one of the smartest ways to lower blood pressure. Find out more novel ways to sidestep dangerous diseases.

#7 An 11-minute walk can be surprisingly beneficial

Good news if you sit behind a desk all day… Squeezing in a daily brisk 11-minute walk (the equivalent of 75 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week) could be enough exercise to help cut the risk of heart disease, stroke, and a number of cancers. Find out more time-efficient physical activity hacks, including how a five-minute light walk every half-hour might be the winning way to cut blood sugar levels.

#8 Mushrooms are a mood booster

Did you know… people who eat mushrooms are less likely to feel depressed? This is thought to be because mushrooms are laden with vitamin D, B vitamins, fiber and antioxidants – which are all linked to healthy moods. Mushrooms are also packed with the antioxidant ergothioneine, which may lower oxidative stress and ease feelings of depression. Discover more mood-boosting foods.

#9 As little as 10 minutes makes a massive difference

It only takes 10 minutes of physical exercise per week to make you a happier person – so imagine the feeling if you do the recommended 150 minutes a week! Adding 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to your morning routine can give you an instant mood boost – and the positive effects can last up to 12 hours. Find out more surprising ways working out brings you joy.

#10 Music can make (or break) your workout

Music stimulates parts of our brain linked to reward, motivation and emotion, so we we work out with good music it makes it more enjoyable, you move better, it’s more effective and you can go for longer – your endurance levels are boosted by 15%. Learn more about what goes on in our brain when we exercise with music.