The New Year is known for two things: predictions and resolutions.
Predictions, as in, “The hot trend this year will be purple-sequined zebra print. You’ll see it EVERYWHERE.” And resolutions as in, “THIS is the year I’m gonna work out regularly! I’m losing 20 pounds if it kills me!” Put these two together and you'll be working out in a purple-sequined zebra print ... What a mental picture.
Fortunately, purple sequined zebra print is not on the fashion radar for 2017, but fitness is virtually always a resolution. And just like jelly bracelets and neon colors in the '80s, grunge and “The Rachel” cut in the '90s and some of the styles predicted to rock our closets in 2017 (all shades of pink, a resurgence of platform shoes, and “vacation-style prints”) there are trends in fitness, too. Think Thighmaster, Jazzercise, Zumba.
The American College of Sports Medicine has released its annual list of the New Year’s top fitness trends. Here’s what’s hot for 2017.
1. Wearable Technology
This is number one for the second year in a row. Whether you’re working out on your own while wearing a Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, or Apple Watch, or hitting a gym like Orangetheory Fitness that issues a special heart rate monitor to members, chances are you’ll be wearing some sort of device to track every heartbeat, mile, and calorie burned.
“We use technology to help people train through their workout zones and reach their target heart rate,” says Orangetheory coach Colton Gibney. “It helps people stay motivated, because you have the stats to know you can push yourself a little more.”
But he cautions against getting too dependent on your device.
“Sometimes, instead of using it as a training tool to learn your body and how things should feel, people get fixated on numbers. It can get a little obsessive,” Gibney says.
2. Body Weight Training
This was the number one trend in 2015 and was number two last year as well. Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats–you can do these anywhere. No time for the gym today? “Stand up and sit down 10 times from your work chair and you just did a set of squats,” says Gibney. It also helps you focus on that 2pm meeting with the boss.
3. HIIT -- High Intensity Interval Training
Number one on the list in 2014, HIIT is still super popular, rounding out the top three. This concept is what a lot of gyms like Orangetheory Fitness are based on, because it works.
“A lot of people are on the go. That’s what makes HIIT great—you don’t have to spend as long training because you’re hitting it harder for a shorter time,” says Gibney. “We’re taking you up into a push zone or all-out–that’s taking you into a HIIT zone, spiking your heart rate, then back to your recovery zone.”
Along with the top three fitness trends for the New Year, there are some other notable fitness processes that made the list.
On the list for the first time, Group Training makes a strong showing at number six. It's high-energy exercise, motivation, a social outlet, and support group all in one (and who doesn’t need that?)
“You’re with a group of people experiencing the same thing and when you see they’re not giving up it lets you know that you can keep going, that you can do it,” Gibney says.
It also ups the fun factor. “You make new friendships you may never have made otherwise,” he adds. “They’re your fitness buddies now. It helps with accountability.”
Fitness programs for older adults
Chances are, you’re noticing more, shall we say, “distinguished” folks at the gym. The older population is working out more often, and for good reason. They’re building strength, coordination, and balance for their golden years.
“Low-impact exercise with good resistance training helps keep those bones nice and strong, and increases cardiovascular and cognitive function as well,” says Gibney.
And don’t kid yourself. Some of those people can outpace fit Millenials.
“We’ve got a member who has had a double hip replacement and has taken almost 300 classes,” says Gibney. “There is an 82-year-old woman who works out with us who has eight children and 12 grandchildren. We ensure that everyone works out within their own means.”
Whether you hit the gym or exercise at home, you can try some of these trends to stay motivated. And the best part–you never have to wear purple sequined zebra print workout clothes. Unless of course, you’re into that.
Maybe you've heard this a jillion times: Core strengthening is vital if you want to avoid injury. But is it true? A new study doesn't conclusively say one way or the other, but it sure casts some doubt on the incredibly common assertion.
In the study, released in the journal Physical Therapy, 1,100 soldiers aged 18 to 35 were divided into two groups. One group used a core stabilization exercise program that lacked sit-ups, while the other used a traditional exercise program that included bent-knee sit-ups. The point was to compare how the two programs affected the rate of musculoskeletal injury.
Why the focus on sit-ups?
Despite longstanding tradition and the widespread popularity of sit-ups, it has been postulated that this exercise results in increased lumbar spine loading, potentially increasing the risks of injury and low back pain (LBP). Specifically, sit-ups produce large shear and compressive forces on intervertebral disks and across the lumbar spine. Increased muscle activation anteriorly results in both initial hyperextension and subsequent hyperflexion of the lumbar spine, contributing to large compressive forces during sit-ups.
Sit-ups have long been an important yardstick by which the US Army measures physical health. But if they're causing injuries, or failing to prevent injuries that core strengthening could prevent, that might need to change.
The results, though, didn't show any massive difference in injuries between the two groups. “There were no differences in the percentages of soldiers with musculoskeletal injuries. There also were no differences in the numbers of days of work restriction for musculoskeletal injuries overall or specific to the upper extremity.”
It’s worth nothing that the results for the two groups weren't identical. Soldiers who completed the traditional exercise program did have more days of work restriction than the other group if their injury was to the low back.
As much as we all like studies that conclusively prove broad truths, the reality is that what we “know” tends to advance in teensy increments. This study is one thread in a much larger tapestry. What it tells us, though, is that sit-ups might not be the bogeyman and core strengthening might not be quite the miracle each has been portrayed as—as usual, more studies are needed.
Via: Saveyourself.ca – check out the lively and informed discussion taking place on their Facebook page
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