fitness trends

Get Fit Now! Jump Into the 5 Hottest Fitness Trends for 2011

Don't wait until New Year's: Use the newest fitness trends to shape up by year's end.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Fitness fads come and go, with many of those Thighmasters and Nordictracks ultimately turning into permanent dust bunny collectors in your attic or garage. But the emerging fitness trends the American Council on Exercise (ACE) experts predict for 2011 don't seem quite so gimmicky, and many don't even require investing in a gym membership. "After what has been a tough couple of years economically, things are looking up as far as the fitness industry is concerned," says Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief science officer at ACE. So, why wait until the new year to start getting fit? Pick out one of these emerging fitness trends and start getting healthy today!

Fitness Trend #1: Stress Reduction

Fitness Trend #2: Technology

Fitness Trend #3: Buddy System

Fitness Trend #4: Youth-Based Fitness

Fitness Trend #5: Most Popular Workouts
Fitness Trend #1: Stress Reduction through Fitness

Time and time again, researchers have found exercise can erase stress, and fitness-trends forecasters believe more people will use exercise to not only tone up, but to calm down, too. Yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and basic stretching classes are expected to draw more people looking for ways to de-stress. But working up any type of sweat will work.

"Regular exercise of just about any type will help you to handle stress better. Habitual runners will tell you that their run is just as important for their mind as it is for their body," explains Leigh Crews, MS, spokesperson for ACE and certified group fitness instructor. "Running is known to release endorphins, the body’s own neurochemicals that produce a feeling of well-being." Even if running is not your cup of tea, remember that walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, dance, and dance-based exercise like Zumba will all leave you feeling better for the effort, she adds.

Fitness Trend #2: Technology Becomes a Support Resource

Too much fiddling with the iPhone could leave you inactive and fat, and fitness experts recognize this. While exercise pros don't expect to see a rise in online training, they do believe social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will serve as modes of motivational support that complement personal-training sessions.

The good news is there are other ways to tap tech as a valuable support resource to get fit.

ACE spokesperson Crews likes the Keychain Trainer from NextFitness, a device that delivers personalized workouts from leading trainers to your MP3 player. You get custom workouts from the trainer of your choice, blended with your choice of music for a small monthly fee. As far as Apps go, she gives the thumbs up to SportyPal, one you can use while you're running, cycling, or rollerblading. It records your distance, speed, and calories burned. She doesn't think people should rule out interactive game systems, either. They are acquiring the sophistication to become real players. "Lately, I’ve been playing EA Active Personal Trainer for the Wii," she says.

Fitness Trend #3: Buddy System/Small-Group Workouts

The buddy system is expected to be operating in full force next year, but before you ask any old friend to team up for better fitness, there are a few things you need to ask, says personal trainer and advanced fitness and health specialist Debi Pillarella, national spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise.

1. Personality: Pick someone you get along with outside of exercise, too. You want complementary characteristics, not an oil-and-water-type relationship.

2. Interests: Figure out whether your interests jive. Do you like the outdoors, but your partner shudders at the thought of going out of doors? Are you both runners or walkers or bikers?

3. Time availability: If you’re a morning maniac and your partner likes to sleep in, workout times might be compromised.

If you and your partner want more structure, look into another emerging fitness trend, group training.

Fitness Trend #4: Youth-Based Fitness

As childhood obesity rates continue to grow out of control, expect to see more youth-based fitness classes popping up. Pillarella says most children can take up more structured exercise starting at 6 years old, when they can understand the concepts of following directions and teamwork. "In all honesty, the best types of exercises for kids are the ones that don't feel like exercise. Kids are not 'scaled down' adults and can’t be given a watered-down version of an adult workout," warns Pillarella. "The best types of exercise are the ones the children like to do and that are age- and developmentally appropriate."

Just running around and jumping are beneficial, and body-weight exercises like crab walks or push-ups can help strengthen bones, too. You can also try "Rolling Dice Fitness," in which a parent selects an exercise, such as hopping on one leg, and the kids roll the dice to see how many times they should perform the exercise. For more information on child fitness, check out Pillarella's Pump It Up resistance training for kids program for detailed exercises for kids 3 and older.

Fitness Trend #5: Most Popular Workouts

Fitness experts predict Boot camp workouts will remain popular in 2011, along with Zumba, a fun alternative class that focuses on Latin dance moves.

So, how to pick? While it's tough to make blanket recommendations based on personality, Crews has found that people with strong and outgoing personas generally tend to gravitate toward powerful, strength-type boot camp or kick-boxing-type classes. More introverted types may feel more comfortable in tai chi, yoga, or Pilates to start.


Published on: November 9, 2010

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