We’ve had the cult hits and the diet fads that are honestly not inclusive enough to consider those who don’t have the time and the budget to subscribe to them. This year, it seems that we’re practicing a little more common sense when it comes to looking after our health.
The American College of Sports Medicine‘s 13th annual forecast reveals some very familiar trends that will reign once again this year. The forecast, by the way, is a result from a survey that ACSM did with more than 2,038 fitness professionals that work in commercial gyms, medical facilities, nonprofit organizations, and corporate health programs—in short, a wide variety of experts who work with people from across all sectors. What’s great about having these trends rise again is that their recurrence is proof of their effectiveness. Plus, since we may have already tried some or all of them at least once before, getting into them again won’t be such a shock to our systems.
With the new year coming in and blessing us with some go-getter energy, maybe these fitness trends can help us achieve our 2019 fitness goals.
It’s not the brand name or the price tag that matters when it comes to gadgets that can measure our performance; at this point, it’s about how convenient and wearable they can be. As Walter R. Thompson, the 2017-2018 ACSM president (he’s also the author of the 2019 trend report) stated in the ACSM Health & Fitness Journal, “The wearables, even the low-end ones, have gotten more accurate.” So strap on your FitBits, and don’t mind if they’re an earlier version; the most important thing is they could help you track your progress and motivate you to go further.
Is group exercise the (foreseeable) future? Anyone who feels icky hanging out in the sweat- and testosterone-laden free weights and machine sections of the gym (i.e., me) will tell you, “It is the yesterday, the now, and the future!” Kidding aside, group exercises provide a sense of community to attendants, bringing them that pleasant sense of camaraderie along with that rush of endorphins. As group classes involve folks of varying fitness levels, a considerate and skilled instructor would be crucial, because they can make sure that certain steps or routines can be modified for those who need modifications. There’s also the sense of accountability that being part of a community brings: If everyone around you is energized, it’s hard not to get caught up and lifted by their enthusiasm too. (It’d also be embarrassing to be the weakest link in the group, if that’s the kind of motivation that works for you.) And at the end of the training session, the congratulatory greetings from your instructor and fellow trainees are just the pat on the back you need to schedule your next training.
High intensity interval training
Love it or hate it, but high intensity interval training or HIIT (sounds a lot like HATE to me) is effective. Fast but intense, it calls for people to push themselves in order to get their hearts pumping up to 90 percent of their maximum heart rate. Formerly a domain that was seen as exclusive to elite athletes, more common folks who want to get fit but are often strapped for time have relied on HIIT to help them get into shape. Of course, to avoid injuries, getting a coach to help you through the workout is always advisable, as is joining a group of HIIT-ers.
Body weight exercise
We skip the fourth trend (fitness programs for older adults) to go straight to the fifth one. Workout equipment isn’t cheap, and so is a gym membership. If your budget is a little too tight for you to spend on either one, there are plenty of workouts available that rely on the resistance that our own body weight provides. Pilates is one of them, and all it calls for is a yoga mat. The Nike Training Club also has tons of workouts that call for zero equipment but will have you sweating in just a few minutes.
To round this list out to a nice five is the seventh fitness trend of the year, yoga. Is this even a trend anymore? Methinks for a lot of people already, it is a lifestyle. And no, Gwyneth Paltrow wasn’t responsible for its popularity. Another great thing about yoga is how it can be infused into an already existing workout program to help you stretch and lengthen those overworked muscles and check in on how your body is feeling and doing.
The rest of ACSM’s list include:
Fitness programs for older adults, a.k.a. baby boomers
Hiring certified fitness professionals
The ACSM initiative Exercise is Medicine (LOL at the self-promotion)
Header image featuring Keith Hwang