January is in full swing and your chances of finding a 6 o’clock parking spot at the gym are slim to none. But if you’re still trying to select that perfect exercise to fulfill your New Year’s health resolution, a recent survey published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal may provide some inspiration.
This annual survey was compiled from input provided by 3,815 health and fitness professionals around the world. Below is the top five of their 20 fitness trends for your consideration.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training – This exercise program typically takes 30 minutes and involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed brief recovery periods. While it is popular in gyms around the world, it can be risky for those who try to do too much too soon. If exercise isn’t part of your regular routine, start slowly and build up to these types of advanced workouts.
2. Body Weight Training – Rising in popularity, this type of training uses your own body’s weight to create resistance. Minimal, if any, equipment is required, so it can be a good option for frequent travelers and those who find it difficult to get to the gym regularly. Movements in this category include sit-ups, push-ups, squats and lunges. If you’re looking for something more advanced, Google “planking.”
3. Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals – Falling from the top trend spot this category has held for the past six years, there continues to be exponential growth in the number of these fitness professionals. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to continue growing by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020.
4. Strength Training – This continues to be a strong trend in the fitness industry, and has been incorporated into many other types of programs because it helps reduce body fat, increase lean muscle and burn calories. It can be accomplished with no special equipment (see “body weight training”), or can integrate resistance tubing, free weights and weight machines. And best of all, it’s generally beneficial for everyone.
5. Exercise and Weight Loss – While these two naturally go hand-in-hand, the combination of exercise and weight loss has taken off lately among commercial programs. In fact, several popular weight loss programs that once focused solely on calorie counting now encourages members to get out and move.
Many programs in the survey involve joining an organized group or gym, so carefully consider your budget, available time and current fitness level before signing up. It’s also advised that you consult with your physician before beginning a new fitness routine. And remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get fit. Even taking a 20-minute walk around your neighborhood a few times a week can have health benefits.