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Top Fitness Trends for 2016

Are you following the trends, or caught up in a passing fad? (Please, drop the shake weights and throw away the ab roller.)  Every year, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Health & Fitness Journal  surveys thousands of health and fitness professionals in various fitness environments worldwide to determine emerging trends. Rather than buying into the latest hot products or classes, sold on infomercials or endorsed by celebrities, we as individuals and the fitness industry as a whole should inform decisions about health based on what sticks around from year to year.

Here are the top 10 fitness trends for 2016

1. Wearable Technology: It seems like almost everyone has an activity tracker, GPS tracker, heart rate monitor or smart watches from popular brands like FitBit, Jawbone, Garmin, Nike+ Fuelband, and the Apple Watch. These devices can monitor your heart rate, sleep patterns, number of steps taken and calories burned. Although the accuracy of these devices hasn’t been proven (especially when it comes to calories), studies show that people are 30-40% more active when using wearable technology. So, perhaps the accuracy of the device is less important than the fact that they seem to do a good job of just getting people moving more.

2. Body weight Training: These programs use minimal or no equipment, which makes it a very inexpensive way to exercise effectively, and easily be done at home to accommodate busy days when you just don’t have time to get to the gym. Examples of body weight exercises are plyometrics, pushups, pullups, squats, and lunges. As the #1 position in last year’s survey, body weight training is clearly a trend to watch for the future.

3.  High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Falling from the top spot in the 2015 survey, high-intensity interval training typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform. HIIT has been shown to improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness, cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profiles, and abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass. Try it out in our Corebar HIT class!

4. Strength Training: Everyone, from young to elderly, men and women, are using strength training to help maintain and combat the loss of muscle mass by increasing muscular fitness. It can also prevent osteoporosis, decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering body fat, decreasing blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and lowering the stress placed on the heart while lifting a particular load.

5. Educated, certified and experienced health professionals: An increased demand for fitness professionals is provoking interest in more regulations, either from accrediting agencies within the industry or from the government. Which means more people are getting degrees and certifications, so the quality of training is increasing.

6. Personal Training: As more professional personal trainers are educated and become certified, they are increasingly more accessible in all sectors of the health and fitness industry, which means highly individualized coaching that addresses your specific needs. NJ is also one of a few states that introduced legislation to license personal trainers. We offer both 1/2 hour and 1 hour personal training sessions.

7. Functional Fitness: Replicating actual physical activities someone might do as a function of his or her daily routine, functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform daily activities, like lifting grocery bags, shoveling snow or running to catch a bus. Challenge yourself with our “W.O.W” Workout of the Week class!

8. Fitness programs for older adults: There’s a growing market for age-appropriate and safe exercise programs for the aging sector of the population. Programs might focus on balance and ability to perform activities of daily living (functional fitness) of a lower intensity, like strength training to stand up from a chair, or yoga to increase range of motion and reduce joint pain. The Y offers these and many more programs for Active Older Adults!

9. Exercise and weight loss: Specifically, weight loss programs (i.e. Weight Watchers) that include exercise along with calorie-restricted meal plans. The combination of exercise and diet is essential for weight loss and weight maintenance, but can also improve compliance to the weight loss program.

10. Yoga: Yoga comes in a variety of forms, including Power Yoga, Yolates, Vinyasa, Hatha and Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga). There is always some new form of Yoga popping up, which keeps this trend interesting and accessible to all. We have 14 different Yoga classes here at the Y!

You can read the full top 20 trends at ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.

By: Tracy L. Nieradka