If you haven’t started on a fitness routine yet, it’s not too late to start. One reason you may not be excited about exercising, is that you find exercise boring, or you become bored of the same old stuff. It happens to all of us. Or, perhaps, you enjoyed exercising in winter but just can’t get into it this spring or summer. In fact, you can’t even imagine why people would spend hours doing things like jogging in the boiling hot sun.
Fortunately, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has an interesting angle on how to get people more interested in staying fit – they publish an official list of fitness trends.
A few favorites in the 2016 selection are functional fitness, high intensity interval training, trampolining, aerial silk, and pole fitness. Functional fitness and high intensity interval training appeal to those who just want a practical and effective workout routine. Trampolining, aerial silk, and pole fitness appeal to those in search of novelty and excitement, appealing to those who want to push the boundaries of their physical limits.
It’s recommended that you work with a trainer or join a class to understand the fundamentals and learn the basic movements. Also, wear the right fitness gear and drink plenty of water. In addition, since a few of these sports are extreme, you should have first aid supplies on hand to treat any minor injuries that may occur. Trampoline gymnasts and aerialists often complain about mat and silk burns, but are also at risk of sprains or pulled muscles if they land incorrectly.
Now let’s take a closer look at these popular trends:
1. Functional Fitness
Functional fitness is using your own body weight to get fit. Instead of pushing, pulling, or lifting weights, you are using your own bodyweight to create the necessary resistance to stimulate muscle growth. This may sound like a confusing definition, but it’s not a new idea. Push-ups, for example, allow you to use your body weight to exercise your chest, shoulders, and arms while pull-ups allow you to use your body weight to exercise your back, shoulders, and arms.
While these two examples are some of the more well-known exercises, functional fitness includes a variety of ingenious exercises that use simple equipment (like an exercise ball). These exercises can build muscle and burn fat. And they improve balance and coordination.
2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
Like functional fitness, HIIT is not a new idea either. While popular with professional athletes because it produces optimal benefits in a short time, it’s now becoming mainstream. 20 minutes of HIIT can provide the same benefits as an hour or two at the gym (depending what you are doing obviously). The most popular way of doing HIIT is to use a circuit training routine.
A routine might have 10 movements to be done in 10 minutes. During this time, each exercise is done for only 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second break.
Trampolining, also known as rebounding, is an idea that has caught the fancy of many fitness enthusiasts. While you might imagine it is just running or jumping on the spot like you did in your backyard or your school playground, it’s actually about doing a variety of routines that exercise the whole body.
The exercises are not that easy and it may take time to get used to doing them. However, when you do get the hang of it, trampolining can be as fun and as high-energy as aerobics.
2. Aerial silk
This trend is similar to the performance you might expect to see in a circus act. You climb a suspended fabric and rely on your training to stay safe. You learn how to use the fabric to wrap, fall, suspend, spiral, and swing your body into various positions. You may even get to the point where you strike poses as you fly through the air.
Since silk can be slippery, participants often use rosin on hands and feet to improve grip.
3. Pole Fitness
Pole fitness is basically a euphemism for pole dancing. It’s popular among women because it’s risqué, a little like role playing, and an excellent chance for female bonding. Participants often get a huge sense of accomplishment once they’ve mastered the basic moves because they develop a level of strength, speed, and agility that they didn’t expect. Wearing stilettos, women develop leg and arm strength as they hold themselves up on the pole and follow a choreographic routine.
Women of all ages and fitness levels enjoy this strength, endurance, and coordination routine. In an interview with Shape Magazine, Tracy Traskos, a former fitness trainer for 15 years who is now an instructor at NY Pole, said,
“Most women work way harder in pole class than in the gym. There is a time and place for the gym, but pole appeals to women who hate the gym and never even go. And most of the exercises we do, like climbing the pole, are a lot tougher than doing biceps curls.”
It’s About Having Fun
Ultimately, what’s behind the popularity of these trends is that it makes fitness fun again!