Whether or not you made a formal New Year’s resolution—which may be waning by this time in January—it is never a bad time to begin a fitness program. Research has shown that regular exercise can improve your heart health, mental health, muscle strength, flexibility and plenty of other aspects of your health.
Adding fitness to your daily routine can help you dive in to the new decade with splash. But you may not know where to start.
Since 2006, the American College of Sports Medicine has surveyed more than 3,000 people across the fitness industry to determine the top fitness trends. In the 2020 study, people from all over the world voiced their opinion on the latest exercise crazes. Here are some of the top results:
- Wearable technology—including smart watches and fitness trackers—is the No. 1 trend for the coming year. You can use your smart watch or fitness tracker to track your exercise, heart rate, calories burned and sleep quality.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT), the No. 2 trend, is great for those who have trouble finding the time to exercise. HIIT emphasizes cycling or sprinting interspersed with short rest periods. Short training sessions lasting 10 to 20 minutes can help you burn calories and may help keep your brain healthy, too.
- Not ready for high-intensity exercise? Consider circuit training. Coming in at No. 17 on the survey, circuit training is a moderate-intensity option that often includes weights and about 10 different exercises performed in a particular order. Other options for those interested in strength training—in the gym or at home—include using free weights (No. 4) and body weight training (No. 7).
- Plan outdoor activities (No. 13) that include multiple generations, from grandparents to children. Fitness for older adults came in at No. 8 on the survey.
- Importantly, you do not need to venture toward your fitness goals alone. Group exercise classes (No. 3)—such as indoor cycling or dance-based fitness—can provide both motivation and social interaction.
- If you want more personalized training, consider working with a personal trainer (No. 5) or a certified fitness professional (No. 10). A health/wellness coach (No. 9) can help you combine your lifestyle with health-promoting activities and assist with goal-setting, personal guidance and encouragement.
Whether you choose to exercise alone or in a group, outdoors or indoors, on a bike or with weights, do your body and mind a favor and become a fitness trendsetter.
Kimberly A. Huey, PhD, is professor of physiology in the department of health sciences at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.