Why do we care about trends? Researchers study them, writers report them, teachers teach them, and tweeters tweet them. Although there are many advantages to being “in the know,” one of the most important reasons to pay attention to trends is that they can help us prepare for and adapt to changes ahead.
Over the past six years, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has identified trends in the fitness industry with their ”Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends” (you can view the full 2012 survey text here). Come January 1, some of the most popular resolutions will be health- and fitness-related, so let’s get a jump on meeting our goals by looking at what the 2012 fitness trends mean for us.
Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals are the core of a rapidly expanding industry. In spite of tough economic times, consumers still place a lot of value in getting and staying healthy. The fitness industry has responded to this need by employing qualified trainers and instructors.
What does that mean for you? You can breathe a little easier knowing that you can trust your fitness professionals to lead you in safe and effective workouts, helping you reach your goals faster and giving you more bang for your buck.
Strength training is here to stay. Having been near the top of the trends list for several years, strength training is the first training “type” on the trends list, accompanied by personal, core, functional, and group training.
What does that mean for you? Since most of us sit at a desk all day, adding a little weight-bearing exercise such as resistance training can help improve our energy levels, mood, and overall functionality. Expect fitness centers to continue to update equipment and training options to facilitate strength-training programs that meet the needs of all types of exercisers – a stronger body is yours for the taking!
No one will be left behind. Training options are becoming more population-specific, with new programs being tailored to the aging Baby Boomer population and the fight against childhood obesity (just to name a few). Your fitness professionals are trained specifically to work with a variety of individuals from athletes to people fighting obesity or other diseases.
What does that mean for you? The fitness industry is actively trying to meet you where you are to help you get the most you can out of an exercise program, regardless of your goals or fitness level. In other words, you don’t have to start off looking like Jane Fonda to make exercise a part of your life.
It’s all about energy. Zumba, boot camp, and spinning are growing in popularity. These group classes are high-energy and fun, and put the emphasis on pushing your physical limits.
What does that mean for you?Releasing stress through dancing, high-intensity training, and cycling will leave you feeling strong, accomplished, and ready to tackle life’s challenges. You just have to be willing to give them a try. And although not “trending” anymore, Pilates fans shouldn’t be worried that their favorite class is going to disappear; only time will tell whether these new arrivals and old favorites will continue on as actual trends rather than fads.
The key this year is to work with Midtown to customize a fitness program that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuventated, and (hopefully) like you had a darn good time.
Now that you know what’s to come in 2012, it’s time to use this information to start doing something that will work for you.
Your 2012 motto shouldn’t be “once I meet my goal, I’ll be happy.” Instead, how about you take a chance on what the industry is giving you and say “it’s time to give myself knowledge, revitalizing energy, and a sense of accomplishment, and add some more fun to my fitness routine.” Now that’s a reason to work out today.
What do you think of these trends? Have you already tried any of these fitness programs or plan to in 2012? What are you going to do differently in your workout routine this year?
Now that we are smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season, you might feel like the size of your to-do list rivals Santa’s “Naughty v. Nice” one. Fortunately, having less time doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice fitness.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to trim your workout time (and your waistline) along with your Christmas tree.
Courtesy of moveablesuccess.net
Circuit-style weight training and combination moves: Instead of resting between sets, perform exercises one after the other to effectively rest muscle groups without losing time. Work opposing muscle groups back-to-back, such as chest and back, or alternate upper and lower body exercises to ensure adequate recovery time.
You can also combine upper and lower body moves, such as a squat with a biceps curl. Just make sure the “up phases” of the exercises are done at the same time to maximize effort. And here’s an extra benefit - the lack of rest in this style of training gives you a little cardio boost!
Interval training: You may think interval training is just another buzz word fitness professionals and heart rate monitor aficionados throw out to make you sweat more, but the cardiovascular benefits of this training method are proven. The basic idea is to increase your effort to near-maximum exertion for a period of time, followed by a recovery period.
For example, perform one minute of running (or stair-climbing, or jumping rope, or spinning, etc.), followed by one minute of walking, or some other lower-intensity version of the same exercise. You can also intersperse cardio moves (high-intensity interval) with strength-training moves (recovery interval). Make sure you adequately warm-up and cool-down when performing this type of training to help the body adjust to the intensity.
Courtesy of examiner.com
Creative Combos: Get creative by completing your workout and your holiday to-do list simultaneously. Power walk while shopping at the mall. Do squats or hold a wall-sit while putting finishing touches on your decorations. Dance, lift cans, or do push-ups on the kitchen counter while cooking. Practice abdominal contractions while driving in the car. Choose a new exercise for each of the 12 days of Christmas. It’s up to you!
Bonus Tips: Stick to a plan and use your time wisely. If you want to continue your structured workout, try to find uninterrupted time by turning off your cell, or doing your workout while your kids are at school. If it’s too hard to find a set time, break up your workout by starting your day with a brisk walk or core work. Get in as much as you can in the time you have, but don’t forget your cool down.
Any activity you do this season will add up to help you trim your waistline (or at least hold off the effects of that extra glass of egg nog). So what are you waiting for? Get excited for your new plan and get ready for a new you come January!
Have you changed your workout routine because of the holidays? What are you doing differently?
Member blogger Kathleen Hermann talks about ways for families to engage in fun fitness activities during the holiday season.
We all have holiday traditions, from Aunt Linda’s green bean casserole to fireside carols to the annual donning of the matching sweaters.
However, a lot of our traditions around the holidays focus on heavy, fat-laden foods. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Traditions are important, and the holidays are a good time to indulge as long as we do not indulge to excess.
Still, it is a good time to assess whether your family has any healthy holiday traditions, namely involving physical activity. If not, then why not consider starting one?
Growing up, we watched my father every Thanksgiving morning amble through a Turkey Trot 5k. A former college basketball star measuring 6’8″ in height, he was by no means a runner and it was often humorous to watch him lurching down the final stretch. Nevertheless, he loved how running that race (which was, in fact, the only race he ever ran each year) made him feel on Thanksgiving Day.
As soon as we were old enough, us kids joined him, engaging in a friendly competiton with eachother for place and time. There was something special about knowing no matter the weather — and we had our share of unseasonably warm days as well as days with a foot of snow — we knew where we would be Thanksgiving morning. After an endorphin high of running a race like a Turkey Trot in a huge crowd of like-minded runners, the rest of the day was gravy (pun intended).
There are, in fact, many different ideas for holiday traditions involving fitness, with new opportunities forming each year. It’s not important what you do as long as you do your best to mix the holiday, family and friends (or even pets) with fitness. Here are some ideas for healthy traditions you may not yet have tried:
1. Run a Turkey Trot Next Year Did you know that the first “Turkey Trot” was started right near us in Buffalo during Thanksgiving of 1896? Back then it had only six runners, but today that same Buffalo race regularly has over 10,000 participants. Now there are Turkey Trots all over the country, of differing lengths and terrains. If running bores you, look for a Turkey Day challenge obstacle-like race. The feeling of having accomplished something will make the food taste that much better.
2. Backyard Touch Football
This is a fun, special tradition that many families have already incorporated into their holidays for generations. Instead of sitting on the couch in a food-induced coma, head out for your own friendly-family or neighborhood competition. Children especially will cherish watching adults take part in a fun family game with them.
3. Take a Holiday Walk
There’s no sweeter image to me on holidays than when I see entire generations of a family out walking down the road in a big pack. The sight of an elderly grandmother pushing a stroller, uncles and aunts engaging in jesting banter, and mixed-age children running ahead just seems to be one of the best ways to unite as a family. Even if it is only you and your dog celebrating this year, take a special walk -perhaps on a nature trail- and enjoy the time to reflect on the holiday and giving thanks.
4. Engage in a Seasonal Activity The holidays are a great time to let your inner child run free. Whether there are young ones with you or not, there’s no reason you can’t go tobogganing, ice skating, or build a large snowman. All of these activities will have you sweating off enough calories for that pumpkin pie you ate.
Holiday traditions don’t have to be focused only on sugar cookies and stuffing. Embrace a tradition involving physical activity and your holiday will combat stress, lift your mood, and make the time richer and brighter. More importantly, you may not end the holiday season five pounds heavier and feeling like a sloth. It is never too late to start a new tradition!
Does your family have a healthy holiday tradition or story?