Monday, December 31, 2012

Hot Fitness Trends for 2013

     The start of each New Year presents a chance to change it up. If you’re tired of running around the neighborhood or hitting the gym, Meritus Health physicians and healthcare providers offer insight on the latest fitness trends.

TRX Suspension Trainer is a portable piece of workout equipment developed by a Navy SEAL. The system uses nylon straps and handles that attach to a stationary object so you can do push-ups, lunges and pull-ups using your body weight. The TRX engages more muscles (especially core) than the same moves performed on the ground. “I like this workout because you can perform it anywhere—your home, office or while traveling,” says internist Jerry Correces, MD. “It’s a great program for those who want to step up their exercise and add more intensity.” But, he cautions to work various muscle groups (i.e. not just the back muscles) for a balanced workout.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a cardio workout that alternates bursts of all out energy with periods of more moderate exercise (i.e. running fast for one minute, followed by two minutes of walking). Whether you’re walking, running, swimming or using a stair climber or elliptical, the HIIT methodology compresses a workout. “For people who can’t spend hours at the gym, HIIT is a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time,” says Alix Gilbert, PA-C of Robinwood Family Practice. “You can increase your endurance and metabolism, and strengthen your heart.” But doing too much at once increases your risk for injury explains Alix, so listen to your body.

CrossFit offers a boot camp-style workout that features constantly varied functional movements performed at a high intensity. Class format varies from day-to-day, but typically involves swinging kettlebells, flipping tractor tires, rope climbing and Olympic weight lifting. “You’re constantly challenging the body,” says Total Rehab Care‘s Angie Davis, physical therapy assistant and certified personal trainer. “It’s hardcore and fast, but you really work your endurance muscles.” Get help from a personal trainer on proper workout form before starting CrossFit. Timed workouts add an extra risk of injury because people rush through the regimens without properly positioning themselves.

Body-weight training incorporates movements such as push-ups, planks and pull-ups to create a routine that tones and increases fitness levels. Often packaged as an exercise program, gyms are now incorporating body weight as a form of resistance training. “Try combining body-weight training with high-intensity interval training to make an effective workout,” suggests Dr. Correces.

Spinning is an alternative to outdoor cycling where an instructor leads participants through a warm-up, peak effort period and cool down performed on stationary bikes—all set to music in a studio or gym setting. Spinning is adaptable to any fitness level and there are no complicated moves to learn. Participants are encouraged to listen to their bodies and adjust the bike’s resistance accordingly. Like any group exercise, classes can become monotonous and you have to push yourself for results.

Zumba incorporates Latin-inspired music with easy-to-follow dance steps for an aerobic workout. Classes run for one hour and typically involve dance steps such as the rumba, salsa, mambo and cumbia. “Zumba combines fresh moves with fun dance music and requires no previous dance experience,” says Valerie Pensinger, RN and Zumba instructor. This lively workout is ideal for people who love exercising in a group, but as Dr. Correces points out, you can test the waters by dancing to a Zumba DVD at home. Remember, your workout is only as good as your instructor so pick a class or DVD carefully.

Digital body monitors use ultrasensitive movement to track steps, distance, calories burned and time spent exercising. These “accountability devices” sync with a computer or smart phone and let you log in meals (calories in) and workouts (calories out).

Minimalist running shoes have evolved from lightweight running shoes with little cushioning to essentially gloves for the feet. Mimicking the feel of barefoot running, running enthusiasts believe the shoes help them build endurance and become faster, and minimize injury. “The shoes place emphasis on the mid- and fore-foot, reducing the breaking motion when the heels strike against the ground which can lead to less shock to the heels and joints. But for runners with mid- and fore-foot deformities, these shoes might not be a good match,” explains podiatrist and avid runner Stephen Bui, MD of Robinwood Orthopaedic Specialty Center. He advises runners with any type of foot pain to see a podiatrist for a biomechanical exam before trying minimalist shoes, and to take at least eight months to transition from regular running shoes to minimalist shoes.

Employee wellness programs seek out ways to motivate employees to improve their overall health. Over the years, Meritus Health has offered its employees biggest loser challenges, gym discounts, onsite yoga classes, stair climbing competitions, smoking cessation programs and healthy eating seminars. “When it comes to wellness, there are different strokes for different folks so we offer lots of options,” says Cindy Earle, RN, community health education and wellness manager at Meritus Health. “Our goal is to help employees feel better on and off the job.”

Before starting any new exercise program, get the thumbs up from your primary care physician. “The key for any type of workout is injury prevention,” explains Dr. Correces. “It’s okay to feel exhausted after a new program, but if you experience pain, that’s another issue. Pain means you’re either not ready to increase the intensity, or you’re developing an injury.”

By: Anne Gill

No comments:

Post a Comment