Fitness Trends for the New Year

The fitness industry is constantly evolving and responding to the needs of consumers. This year was no exception, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the top 10 fitness trends to look for in 2021, compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

The biggest fitness trend is online training. After access to most fitness facilities was restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, exercise professionals responded by offering synchronous and pre-recorded individual and group training sessions online. Using streaming video platforms, people were able to work out from home with expert guidance and real-time feedback.

Second is wearable fitness technology. From activity trackers to heart rate monitors to devices that do both and more, the newest “wearables” are sophisticated tools for recording your steps per day, distance you run, and calories you burn. Make sure to pick the device that meets your needs… and your budget, as they can get expensive!

Body weight training is next, and for good reason. Popular because it requires minimal equipment, body weight training focuses on dynamic movements to build strength and endurance. This type of training can be done almost anywhere, which is good news for people who are moved their workouts from the gym to their home.

Fourth is outdoor activities. When fitness centers closed, many people moved their exercise outdoors. Not only are walking, running, cycling, and hiking great ways to get in shape, being outdoors makes appropriately physically-distanced group exercise a safer option. Aside from getting a great workout, there are additional physical and mental health benefits from being active outdoors.

Next on the list 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 typically last less than 30 minutes but lead to fitness improvements that exceed those of traditional longer-duration training.

Number six is virtual training. Similar in many ways to online training, virtual workouts are typically done individually or in smaller groups and participants can go at their own pace. The virtual sessions are led by a trained instructor and can be viewed anytime. You can find virtual workouts from local gyms and online and on social media from specific personal trainers.

Next is Exercise is Medicine, an initiative that aims to get physicians and other health care providers to ask about and promote physical activity in every interaction with patients. Treating exercise like a “drug” that should be prescribed reflects the importance of being active for good health. You should treat exercise professionals as an integral part of your health care team.

Strength training with free weights is next on the list. In addition to building or toning muscles, strength training can make everyday activities easier, help maintain bone mass, and promote weight loss. While weight machines can make you stronger, free weights promote bigger improvements and can incorporated into other types of exercise.

Number nine is fitness programs for older adults. Now that people are living longer, staying healthy and active in old age is a priority for many. Exercise can improve strength and endurance to help people who are recovering from cancer or other chronic illness and allow older adults to enjoy an active lifestyle.

Rounding out the top ten is personal training. One-on-one training can help you learn proper techniques, try new exercises, and keep you accountable. You should look for a certified personal trainer who has experience working with people like you, so ask for recommendations and references to get the best match.

Whether you decide to follow a fitness trend or not, make sure you dedicate time every day to be active. Health and fitness will always be trendy!

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