Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.
What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?
Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.
1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.
Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics.
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We stole Tony Dovolani off the dance floor for a little Q&A about the super cool world that is ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Not only
does did he have the uber fabulous job of being Betsey Johnson’s dance partner, but he also serves as the show’s dance and health expert. Portion control, his personal fitness regimen, and his personal secret to health were all up for grabs. Even cooler than that, he has a lot to say about how the sassy 72-year-old fashion icon got herself in what might be the best shape of her life. Despite what the judges may think — he scores perfect 10s with us!
Q: Congratulations on your success this season with Betsey Johnson, we were all sad to see you go!
A: Thank you! I feel like we were just hitting our stride. She was really improving and our journey was cut short. At least we ended on a high note and left people wanting more!
Q: What stood out to you this season as a dancer and wellness expert?
A: Betsey was a great example for me to show what I’m capable of: making them healthy and changing their life. She could do a cartwheel and splits when she came in, but would be out of breath right after. I was able to work with her on her diet and fitness to help her improve.
Q: DWTS seems to be one of the most beneficial weight loss methods for celebrities. Why do you think that is?
A: The #1 reason is because the body stays active. Dancing involves every single muscle in your body. When you start exercising that much, nutrition naturally falls into place. Your body starts asking for healthier things. You can’t dance when you over eat. It forces you to have a healthy life.
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By Dr. Tom Kleeman, an orthopedic surgeon and creator of MDFitness: The Doctors Workout, a 3-DVD workout available at TheDoctorsWorkout.com.
Your alarm goes off. You pry your eyes open, swing your legs over the side of the bed, and take those first morning steps. That’s when the real alarms go off. Your back and joints cry out in anguish. For a moment you are frozen like the rusty Tin Man wondering how to lubricate all of those joints. You remember reading somewhere that it was important to stretch in the morning, but what does that mean exactly?
For years static stretching has been the mainstay of the early morning routine. As it turns out, research doesn’t support a benefit from static stretching. Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, has been shown to have many benefits including warming up your muscles, increasing blood flow, and jump-starting your metabolism. The idea is to obtain the most benefit in the least time using compound exercises that work multiple joints or muscle groups at the same time. Check out these four dynamic stretches and see for yourself. It’s like having a can of lubricating oil at your bedside.
High March with Arm Swings
This is a great beginning move. It’s easy on your joints while warming up both the upper and lower body. Start by marching in place bringing your knees up higher as your hips warm up. At the same time, stretch your arms out to the side and bring them forward wrapping them around your chest then back out in the tempo of the march. Keep going for about 30 seconds. This exercise gets your hips, shoulders, and chest warmed up and limber.
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It’s my favorite time of year: peak blueberry season! If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of these little balls of deliciousness. Farmers markets, U-Pick berry fields, or from the local produce store, I can’t gobble them up fast enough.
Peak season is anytime from late June through early September, so I’m even known to buy extra large amounts in bulk and freeze* for the rest of the year. Then I add them to smoothies, pancakes (my favorite recipe is this one), oatmeal, you name it! I even found a way to add these little guys to a savory salad. Don’t believe me? We’ll let you try the recipe for yourself!
Why the love affair with blueberries? These little blue dynamos…
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While popular wisdom may hold laughter as the best medicine, science indicates exercise might actually be the way to go. A study from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) shows that moderate to high intensity activity is a key part of reducing the risk of premature death in older women.
Those who worked on the study, like Professor Debra Anderson of QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, say that health professionals should be prescribing exercise programs in addition to conventional treatments for both physical and mental health.
“Studies clearly show moderate to vigorous intensity activity can have mental and physical health benefits, particularly when part of broader positive health changes,” she said in a statement.
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