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8 Fitness Trends to Watch Out For

We're already through much of 2017 and it’s easy to see what trends have continued to thrive in the fitness universe. If you’re on the hunt for effective, fun, and most importantly, fresh fitness ideas to get you out of an exercise slump and into a daily routine, don’t miss these 8 fitness trends to keep an eye on:

Crawling

Some may call crawling[1] the latest health ‘fad’ but it has loads of trainers dropping to the ground. What is crawling exactly? Well just what it sounds like. On your hands and knees, crawl across the floor getting as low to the ground as possible. This low-impact exercise engages most of the muscle groups, even ones you might not have felt before, and can be made more challenging by moving towards a ‘bear crawl’ where elbows and knees are lifted off the ground. Believed to burn up to 1,000 calories an hour, crawling may just be coming to a gym near you if it hasn’t already.

Yoga

While thousands of years old, the practice of yoga most recently made its foray into western culture in the past few decades, with its most exponential rise since the early 2000s. A 2016 study from Yoga Alliance[2] found that the number of yoga practitioners in the U.S. almost doubled since 2012, with many men and older adults joining the female demographic in trying yoga out. Combining gradual and gentle stretching, muscle and bone-building poses, as well as deep breathing and mindful meditation, yoga is an all-in-one workout which has been shown to reverse bone loss, lower high blood pressure, and fight stress and common pains.

Mindful Workouts

In addition to yoga, mindfulness-cultivating workouts like tai chi, pilates, and HIIT (high intensity interval training) with a meditation component are bringing the idea of ‘overall well being’ to the forefront of physical health and fitness. Mindfulness is based on properties of self-actualization, kindness, peace, and an awareness of the mind-body connection. Not only can mindful meditation combat stress and anxiety, but combined with an endorphin-boosting workout, it can play an important role in motivating generally healthier lifestyle choices from diet to social relationships.

Group Training

Partnering up or joining a group for a workout has gained popularity in the past handful of years, leading to a rise in enrollment of classes which team groups up for indoor rowing, spinning, weight lifting and more. You may have heard of SoulCycle, PureBarre, Orangetheory, or CrossFit. Monthly membership programs and websites like ClassPass and CourseHorse connect people with fitness studios and classes in their area, making it easier than ever to join a group for a sweat-busting workout. Group personal training, where a personal trainer consults and works with a small group of people instead of an individual, continues to be a popular (and more economical) choice for people looking for that personal motivation but can handle it in a group of 2 to 4 other people.

Wearable Tech

Wearable fitness technology continues to trend as enhancements in design and engineering take the market by storm. FitBit, BellaBeat, and products from Apple and Garmin are honing in on better accuracy and more features for their wearable tech, including tracking steps, monitoring sleep, logging heart rate and other vitals like blood pressure by age, and allowing for GPS location tracking. Mobile apps also continue to pop up on millions of phones across the world including MyFitnessPal and CycleMeter. Whether it’s tracking exercise and nutrition, or basic meal planning for weight loss, health and wellness apps are becoming faster, more accurate, and more accessible for a digital audience.

Fitness for Senior Health

Group of older mature people exercising in the gym

As older adults continue to live longer and are encouraged to exercise more than ever before for their health, gyms, studios, and even health insurance companies are picking up on the trend. SilverSneakers is a free fitness program for Baby Boomers which gives older adults free and unlimited access to over 13,000 participating gyms across the U.S. More yoga studios are also offering senior-focused classes that adhere to movements and training which take into account age-related conditions like arthritis and  osteoporosis.

Outdoor Exercise

Blame it on climate change, or a growing body of research that proves spending time in nature boosts feelings of positivity and helps fight stress and anxiety[3], but getting outside to get some exercise is on the rise. Trail running, hiking, kayaking, golfing, rock climbing, and stand-up paddle boarding are just a handful of popular outdoor activities that count as cardiorespiratory exercise. Not only are you strengthening your heart, bones, brain, and muscles when you exercise outdoors, but the Vitamin D your body produces in response to the sun’s UV rays is vital to regulating calcium in the body and is believed to protect against some disease like MS and and cancer.

Worksite Health Programs

Looking for a new job? Chances are a potential employer is offering a health-related program or perks in conjunction with your other benefits. Why? According to the American College of Sports Medicine in their annual fitness trends report[4], companies are finding that healthier, happier employees are more productive and take less sick days. An employer may offer reimbursement for your own gym or fitness class expenses, or even offer things like on-site yoga, stability ball computer chairs, standing desks, or even sponsored counseling to help you quit smoking.

Also making the list are continuing trends of HIIT workouts, bodyweight exercises, functional fitness, and wellness coaching. The overarching idea seems to be making fitness more accessible to the masses, whether it’s providing guided instruction for at home and on-the-go workouts, gearing technological solutions towards larger groups of people who can get fit together, or integrating mindfulness and meditation into routine fitness.

 

[1] http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/16/health/crawling-exercise-fitness/index.html

[2] https://www.yogaalliance.org/2016YogaInAmericaStudy

[3] https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-nature-changes-the-brain/

[4] http://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2016/11000/WORLDWIDE_SURVEY_OF_FITNESS_TRENDS_FOR_2017.6.aspx

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