As with any pastime, fitness enjoys trends that fluctuate from year to year. 2011 is no different: the baby boomers are affecting the number of programs made available for an older generation; employees are focusing on on-site fitness; and, obesity has become such a hot button issue that children’s health is a major focus of new fitness activities. So what are these trends? Identified by the online zine, Medicine Net, the following 10 trends are at the top of the list:
- Educated and experienced fitness professionals:
WebMD states that “more people are expected to turn to educated professionals,” even though those trainers cost more. “More states are considering legislation to license personal trainers. People want the best.” The ACSM says in a news release that an increasing number of organizations are offering health and fitness certifications, which is a positive development. One reason people want pros is that more and more people are getting injured using untrained personal trainers.
- Fitness programs for older adults:
Some aging baby boomers have more discretionary money than younger folks and will be seeking certified trainers to design age appropriate fitness programs.
- Strength training:
This remains a central emphasis for many health clubs and is central for a complete training program.
- Children and obesity:
With obesity at epidemic levels for children and adults, more people are looking for programs to help them or their children lose weight.
- Core training:
This type of training emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen.
- Exercise and weight loss:
More people are likely to look for exercise programs that include nutritional advice.
- Boot camp:
Modeled after military boot camps and basic training, this high-intensity type of program is becoming more popular because it incorporates cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills in indoor and outdoor settings.
- Functional fitness:
This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
Various forms of yoga can be done in groups or at home because many books and instructional tapes have become popular and available.
- Worksite health promotion:
Worksite health promotion programs have experienced a rise in popularity. Employers have recognized that having healthier workers will result in lower health care costs and less absenteeism.
Alternative Fitness for a Busy Lifestyle
Not all of us can afford a personal trainer, and not all of us have time to go to a gym or fitness center on a regular basis. That’s not to say you cannot incorporate fitness into your lifestyle; really, there’s no excuse for not devoting 15 minutes to raising your heart rate and toning some muscles, even if it’s just every other day! The combination of a time crunch and a lack of interest in fitness can and does pose problems, but even this combo can be conquered! Try new activities, like Nordic Walking, dancing (non-professionally!) and kickball.
Originally known as ski walking, Nordic walking is a form of exercise consisting of walking with poles similar to ski poles. This style of walking is very similar to cross country skiing, only without the snow and the snowshoes, and it can burn up to 40% more calories than regular walking. Several other benefits associated with Nordic walking are:
- Achieving the same intensity of running without the high impact on the feet nor the heavy breathing and exertion.
- Strengthening the arms, back, chest, stomach, and upper body.
- Attaining cardiovascular, upper body, and lower body workouts.
- Relieving shoulder and neck pain.
- Improving chest and neck flexibility.
- Acquiring better balance and stability from the poles.
- Raising one’s mood and providing great entertainment.
Dancing is a cheap fitness activity – you don’t have to have an instructor, nor do you have to join a class. In fact, dancing can be as simple as sticking on the radio and gyrating your way through chart toppers to your heart’s content. With the success of entertainment television programs such as “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Dancing with the Stars”, and “Dance Your Ass Off”, people of all backgrounds have renewed their interest in dance as an activity. The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com) has reported that these shows have “combined entertainment, exercise, and empowerment in a way that has America taking its fitness matters to the dance floor.” Subsequently, and ironically thanks to television, dance is now recognized as a viable option for weight loss and body transformation. So grab your mop, broom or child and swing those hips!
Kickball is an age-old activity that never gets old. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of this sport is how spontaneously you can initiate a game. Although it does require more than one participant, kickball can be an effective means of cardio. And though it is similar to baseball (see www.kickball.com for the official rules), it doesn’t require much skill or strength; kids can play with parents, elderly people can also join in, and the location is wide open. Grab a ball, go outside, kick and go around the “bases”. It’s that easy.
Trends come and go, but one thing is for sure: if you are intent on maintaining a healthier and more vital you, there are plenty of fitness options available!
For more information on developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, contact Randy Taylor at Gordon Fitness Center, (706) 791-2369.