FITNESS FADS COME AND GO, sometimes as quickly as the latest fashion or pop music. You may recall when fitness-based video games or vibrating dumbbells motivated people to get off their couches and into a workout. Now in 2020, a new crop of fitness fads is thriving – like goat yoga, with baby goats frolicking about while you shift into poses.
But fitness fads don’t last long, which can threaten your commitment to exercising. “The biggest problem with exercise is staying with it. If you get bored with a fad or it disappears, you might become noncompliant,” says Walter Thompson, past president of the American College of Sports Medicine and an associate dean and professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State University.
Most of the trends on the list are broad categories of workouts. For example:
- High-intensity interval training -HIIT alternates periods of rest and high-intensity activity that gets you to 80% of your maximum heart rate. “The ratios are short, like 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off, so you get breathless or you can’t move anymore,” explains Irene McCormick, a certified trainer and senior director of fitness for Orangetheory Fitness, an international chain of fitness studios. HIIT has been shown to produce similar or better results than moderate-intensity exercise when it comes to weight loss and reducing the risk for chronic disease such as high blood pressure.
- Working with a personal trainer -Personal trainers are more accessible than ever, whether they’re based at a gym or able to come to your home or office. Many trainers now offer sessions online. “Clients can log in and work out on their own schedule. No need to worry about making it to the gym when their trainer can see them,”
- Group training – This 2020 fitness trend takes personal training to a new level. Instead of working one- on-one with an individual, a trainer leads a large exercise class while coaching all of the participants. “The instructor calls out the move but walks around making sure everyone is using the correct form,” McCormick explains. “Everyone in the room might need to do the move differently.
- Training with free weights – Whether you’re using little dumbbells at home, barbells at a gym or kettlebells in an exercise class, working with free weights has never gone out of style. The emphasis on strength training for better health, especially for women, is increasing free weight workout popularity. “Women have been so uninclined to lift and bulk up.
- Functional fitness training -This 2020 fitness trend improves weaknesses – like poor posture and tight or weak muscles – that can keep you from getting through your day. “If you can’t hinge at your hips, you can’t get off a couch,” McCormick points out. Functional fitness isn’t just for the activities of daily living, however. It could be sport-specific.
- Fitness programs for older adults -The fitness industry is stepping up to meet the needs of an aging population. That means it’s easier to find classes catering to older adults – like functional fitness, tai chi (which improves balance), yoga (which improves strength and flexibility) and even low-impact aerobics classes that challenge the brain. “It’s called a cognitive workout. You may be taking a class, and the instructor calls out that you should say hello in another language to someone near you,” McCormick says. Exercise, socialization and learning are all associated with keeping the mind sharp.
- Outdoor activities – As more people recognize that physical activity isn’t just about choreographed exercise routines, outdoor activities are gaining in popularity, with a twist: You’ll find organized events with a fitness instructor guiding you on an afternoon or morning of Nordic walking, kayaking, hiking, biking or paddle boarding.
- Exercise for weight loss -Most diet programs incorporate some kind of exercise program into the daily routine of caloric restriction adding the caloric expenditure of physical activity. Exercise for weight loss programs has been a top 20 trend since the survey began.
- Circuit Training – Some respondents pointed out that circuit training is similar to HIIT, but at a much lower or even moderate intensity (some have called this moderate intensity interval training). Circuit training is typically a group of about 10 exercises that are completed in succession and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise.
- Outcome measurements -There are efforts to define, track, and report outcomes leading to accountability of both the health club member and the trainer. Measurements are necessary to determine the benefits of health and fitness programs in disease management and to document success in changing negative lifestyle habits.