Fitness trends predicted for 2014

By Dr. Josh Palgi

We customarily greet every new year with optimism, getting organized, going on a diet, cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and joining a gym. With the turning of a new year most of us believe, or at least hold out the hope, that something good will happen. The steps we take to better health include:

  • Walking on the top of the list
  • Strength training- use barbells or stretch bands
  • Smart nutrition- eliminate red meat, trans fat and add grains
  • Emotional connections—stay close to friend and family
  • Stress and keep control—meditate and get seven to eight hours of sleep

American college of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. ACSM is dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine helping people worldwide live longer and healthier lives.

Medicine and science in sports and exercise is the official journal of the ACSM. Given the hectic, stressful lifestyle of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that enjoying life more has become a popular resolution in recent years.  It is an important step to happier and healthier you, and get out and try something new is an important one.

Recently ACSM experts examine what’s hot and what’s not in the health and fitness industry. The survey, now in its eight year was completed by 3,815 health and fitness professionals worldwide (many certified by ACSM) and was designed to reveal trends in various fitness environments. Thirty eight potential trends were given as choices and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM. The survey results were released in the year.

The top ten fitness trends predicted for 2014 are:

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
HIIT, which involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, jumps to the top of this year’s list. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.

2. Body Weight Training:
This is the first appearance of this trend in the survey. Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
3. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals:
Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM.

4. Strength Training: 
Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete physical activity program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)

5. Exercise and Weight Loss: 
In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.

6. Personal Training:
More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.

7. Fitness Programs for Older Adults:
As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create
age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy
and active.

8. Functional Fitness:
This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.

9. Group Personal Training:
In challenging economic times, many personal trainers are offering more group training options. Training two or three people at a time makes economic sense for the trainer and the clients.

10. Yoga:
Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. Includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.

The full list of top 20 trends is available in the article “Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014.”

Fun workouts are always trending because they help take people’s minds off the fact that they are actually working out. Always remind yourself you are setting a lifestyle pattern that will keep you happy and healthy for the rest of your life. If one day you feel like you have fallen off the path, its only one day in the whole scheme of things. Chances are, the more you incorporate healthy habits, the more likely you are to stick with them. You will feel better, have more energy, look better, be happier and you’ll live up to your full potential each and every day.

Happy & Healthy 2014!

Dr. Palgi is a professor in Kean’s Physical Education, Recreation & Health Department

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