This is the time of year where you might be thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions. If getting in shape, either to lose weight or to improve your strength or endurance, is your goal you are not alone. According to one report, getting fit is the most common resolution. Since 2007, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has surveyed health and fitness professionals to identify exercise trends for the upcoming year. Here are a few of the top fitness trends to look for in 2016:
The biggest fitness trend for 2016 is wearable fitness technology. From activity trackers like the Fitbit to heart rate rate monitors, the newest “wearables” are sophisticated tools for recording your steps per day, distance you run, and calories you burn. Some, like the new Apple Watch, have multiple functions while others, like GPS watches, provide specific information. Make sure to pick the device that meets your needs… and your budget, as they can get expensive!
Next on the list is body weight training. Popular for building strength and endurance with minimal equipment, body weight training goes far beyond the push-ups and pull-ups you may remember doing in PE class. This type of training can be done almost anywhere, which is good news for people who are on a budget or want to train at home.
Following that is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which uses repeated cycles of short, maximal or near-maximal exercise alternated with short rest periods. These HIIT sessions last less than 30 minutes but lead to fitness improvements that exceed those of traditional longer-duration training. Beginning exercisers should note that HIIT training is intense, so starting slow is recommended.
Strength training still ranks highly, and for good reason. In addition to building or toning muscles, strength training can make everyday activities easier, help maintain bone mass, and promote weight loss. Strength training is often incorporated into other types of exercise, so you don’t necessarily need to “pump iron” to build strength.
Fifth on the list is educated and experienced fitness professionals. You should look for a facility that requires the staff to have fitness certifications that involve both education and experience. This may include personal training, which is number six on the list. Personal trainers are excellent resources for people just starting out as well as experienced exercisers. Finding a trainer who has experience working with people like you is important, so ask for recommendations and references to get the best match.
Next is functional fitness, using strength training to enhance the ability to perform a wide range of physical activities. For example, athletes have long used functional fitness training to target the movements they utilize in their sport, but the same principle holds true for occupational demands and activities of daily living.
Rounding out the top ten are fitness for older adults, exercise and weight loss, and yoga, which have been on the list for some time. While this list does not include every popular or “trendy” type of exercise, it does capture the components of most types of training. CrossFit, for example, is a combination of body weight, strength, and functional training involving high-intensity intervals in a group setting.
Even if you don’t plan to join a gym or aren’t interested in the latest fitness trends, keep in mind that even something as untrendy as walking for 30 minutes each day can have substantial health and fitness benefits. And if you haven’t been exercising, this can be a great way to get started on a happy and healthy New Year!
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