By Erica Moe
If you find yourself running the same two-mile route in your neighborhood repeatedly, hiking Cowles Mountain for the 99th time, or feeling like your stationary cycle is going nowhere, literally, here is the answer: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Top Trends for 2017. Now you can spice up your regimen and get excited about exercise again by exploring the latest and greatest in fitness.
Top five trends
Wearable technology holds the top spot this year. Considering all the activity trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, GPS tracking devices and smart garments, it is easier than ever to utilize these tools. If you can measure it, you can manage it. Take advantage of move reminders, earn badges for accomplishments, and know your distance, heart rate, location and much more.
Bodyweight training is the trend runner up. With no need for equipment and a workout that can be done anywhere, it has reduced the excuses! The idea is to move your bodyweight through movements that mimic activities of daily living, making life easier.
Ranking third, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns calories by alternating between high-intensity exercises and short rest periods. Bonus: The calorie burn continues after the workout due to post-exercise oxygen consumption. Try 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest; repeat.
The fourth biggest trend: educated, certified and experienced health professionals. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics predicts the employment of fitness professionals will increase 8 percent in the next 10 years. Certifications have become accredited through organizations like the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Beyond certification, many professionals are also degreed. Be sure you know the credentials of your instructors.
Strength training, ranking fifth, is not just for bodybuilders. It has been shown to be a great antidepressant, increasing endorphins and helping you sleep better. Not only do muscles burn more calories, they can increase metabolism by up to 15 percent and help with posture, too.
Moving on up
New to the top trends annual report are group exercise, ranking sixth, and Exercise is Medicine, ranking seventh. Group exercise classes are a great way to stay motivated because they offer so much variety in format, class days/times, instructors and music. It makes fitness fun and affordable, since it is often a value-added service in many facilities.
Exercise is Medicine is a global health initiative co-launched by ACSM and the American Medical Association acknowledging that physical activity is an integral health tool to the prevention and treatment of diseases. Your physician can refer you to the appropriate fitness professionals in your area.
You may be surprised to hear that Zumba (No. 39), cycling (No. 24), Pilates (No. 33), boot camp (No. 30) and indoor rowing (No. 41) did not make the top 20 trends this year. Core training and sport-specific training, previously in the top 20 last year, moved out of the top 20 ranking this year, as well.
— Erica Moe, M.S., is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist who writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA where she is fitness director.