Hot New Fitness Trends
There’s always something new to try for better health
Wouldn’t it have been great if laughter yoga, about which Amoena Life reported in 2010 ( Issue 9) had become a nationwide exercise sensation, and we had all giggled ourselves to better mental health and smaller dress sizes? It didn’t quite happen that way as far as we know, but in the last few years several fitness trends have emerged to get people moving. Have you tried any of these?
Extreme personal challenge: CrossFit and boot camp-type training have hit the forefront in workout communities all over the world. These are high-intensity programs that combine strength with cardio -- often based on military training workouts and purposefully taxing on even trained athletes’ bodies. Many regular Joes and Janes are finding that the results speak for themselves, and the communities that form around these types of workouts can be extremely supportive, as well. (Consult your physician before doing any weight-bearing strength exercise if you have had breast cancer, and be mindful of the risks of lymphedema.)
Dance party: Zumba, the “happy accident” marriage of aerobic activity with salsa and meringue music, has quickly become a global phenomenon, and can now be found online, On Demand and at fitness centers and community rec rooms everywhere. Its craze-level appeal positions it to be a full “entertainment brand,” capitalizing on the potential for new musicians, television and live performances (a recent concert in Miami drew thousands). Devotees say it’s “more like going out to the clubs” than exercising, which explains why it’s spreading like wildfire in living rooms and gyms alike. http://www.zumba.com/
Friendly competition: Whether it’s an office challenge among co-workers, a family blog detailing weight-loss progress between cousins in distant locations, or a website where you can create your own free contests and groups, there’s no doubt weight loss competitions – modeled after NBC’s television hit The Biggest Loser, with “percentage of weight lost” – are popular these days. WeightLossWars.com explains, “Goals are more reachable when we use fun, friendly competition to help us… Competing against other people provides something that traditional weight loss programs fail at: Motivation, Accountability and Incentive.” It’s definitely getting people to hit their gyms, hit the pavement and put miles on their treadmills!
What do you think? Will these trendy practices go the way of the stationary bike-as-hamper? We hope not. For one thing, technological advances are making it easier to stay on top of whatever fitness regimen a person chooses – mobile apps for calorie- and mile-tracking abound, podcasts can help couch potatoes learn to be 5k runners, and YouTube hosts videos of every type of exercise. Research is confirming that even a few minutes a day can make a difference. And even if you’re not participating yet, your personal social network might encourage accountability (i.e., guilt you into starting)!