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Fitness Trends for 2013: Back to the Basics

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A common reason for skipping exercise is boredom – tired of doing the same ol’ treadmill or elliptical machine day in and day out. Fitness experts with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) challenge you this year to think outside the box and try something new. Well, maybe not entirely new – many of the hot trends for 2013 are a return to the basics of fitness with a combination of cardio, resistance training and flexibility exercises.

One positive about many of the fitness offerings in the New Year is that there is less of the sole focus of weight loss and more about the overall benefits that exercise has for the entire body. Therefore, there are many classes offering “fusion” type workouts that combine different types of exercise, such as adding flexibility and cardio in one class (also called “cross-disciplining”).

The trend for combo classes this coming year will blend intense training styles with soothing, restorative ones as regeneration and rejuvenation are becoming integral parts of a workout. For example, Piloxing combines Pilates and boxing.

By mixing workouts with disparate disciplines, participants can get the body working in ways it wouldn’t otherwise, says Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist for ACE and certified personal trainer and group instructor. "An aging population plus the trend toward more vigorous workouts has made the need to stretch and maintain flexibility more important than ever," adds Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery.

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Functional fitness will also be an emphasis. Functional fitness works with the five natural movements of the body (squat, lunge, push, pull and rotate) to improve joint stability and mobility and improve quality of life. With this trend will come more “old school” workouts, such as jumping jacks, push-ups, climbing ropes and hill runs. The good news is that many of these can be done around the home for those who do not have access to a gym.

For Do-It-Yourselfers, there is also more access to fitness support online through apps and fitness videos. Check out the wide range of smartphone apps or look for websites such as YogaGlo, StreamFIT, and SpiroFit to start offering live or streaming online workouts and training sessions. You may also be able to find a personal trainer who will work with you through Skype.

For those seeking a more challenging workout, HIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) programs will continue to be popular. These include CrossFit, P90X, Tabata and Parkour. These programs have the added benefit of results in a shorter amount of time. "High-intensity exercise causes the body to release more hormones, such as human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor, that are responsible for increasing lean muscle mass and also have anti-aging benefits," says Pete McCall, another ACE exercise physiologist.

Lastly, fitness may be more social through “fitness parties.” Instead of happy hour at the bar, get a group of friends to attend a class together or find a trainer that will work with small groups instead of individuals. You will probably get a better price for personal training sessions and the added benefit of friendly encouragement.

Bottom line for sticking with a fitness program – find something you like and that fits well within your lifestyle. There are many more options today than in years past for finding a workout you will enjoy doing daily for the rest of your life.

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