No matter where you look there seems to be a new tool, workout or quick fix plan that promises great results. Unfortunately, many of the latest trends become old news as they quickly fall out of favour due to being incorrect or unsustainable.
It’s great that exercise and the exercise industry have the ability to change to reflect and embrace incoming science and innovation. This means that you can access the latest research and ideas, but just make sure that before you jump on the ‘next big fitness thing’ that you are confident it is not just a fad. A new innovation is more likely to lead to long term results when it comes with the assistance of a qualified, experienced exercise professional that can also motivate you to keep going.
Looking at the developments here and internationally in 2016, we have created a list of just some of the trends that we think will contribute to your health and wellbeing. This includes the latest technology and research partnered with expertise, to try now and keep doing in the long term.
COMMUNITY BASED EXERCISE OPTIONS
While gyms and studios remain popular, there is growth in community based exercise classes and offerings; on marae, in community centres and in church halls throughout the country. These are a great option for those who live too far away form a conventional gym set up, but want to connect with other exercisers and have the support of an expert. These sessions are proving to encourage less active people to get started while being supported by their local community.
A good community based exercise programme will combine the best of both worlds though. That is easy to access a location within a supported environment, and a trained leader making sure the exercise you do is going to improve your health and exercise levels, AND avoid unnecessary injury.
Gone are the days of manual heart rate checks and writing down your achievements in a notebook after each workout. Wearable technology started off as being expensive and often unreliable, but these days the options and technology means you can get a range of offerings to suit your needs and budget. While wearable technology won’t improve your fitness and exercise levels on its own (you still need to do the exercise yourself), it means you can reliably track what you are achieving. For those with a personal trainer, you can use wearable technology to assist your trainer as they plan your sessions and give you advice that reflects what you are doing and how you are achieving.
PERSONAL TRAINERS AS HEALTH COACHES
Experienced exercise professionals who know their stuff are embracing the ‘whole person’ and their client’s lifestyle when it comes to prescribing exercise. You will see more trainers not just telling you to exercise, but also look after your mental health and balance your life. That’s not to say an exercise professional should be dispensing advice outside their training, but simply that they will offer you support over and above their exercise session. This may be wellbeing coaching, or it may be referral to another professional who will work with you, and your trainer to improve your life and your fitness/exercise.
REST AND RECOVERY
After a great workout you need to allow your body to recover and adapt. Even the strongest trainer, or the most elite athlete will tell you that their rest is as important as the work they do. The last few years have seen a growth in the understanding that balance is important, and while there are times that working out hard and often is appropriate, there are other times that a more relaxed approach is more sensible. Rest doesn’t mean lying on the sofa all day, and there are a range of exercise options that will keep you moving while supporting your need for rest.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) appeared on the scene a few years ago as research showed that as fitness levels improves, adding intensity can contribute to fitness/exercise gains as much as adding volume. The concept has been embraced by time poor people who enjoy the results, but can’t make time for a session lasting for an hour or more. It’s important to note that intensity is relative to your fitness, so a HIIT programme is not one size fits all. A less active person will reach high intensity at a lower threshold than an athlete. Beware of ‘experts’ who tell you otherwise.
With the abundance of information available online, consumers are no longer as willing to accept being told simply what to so, they want to know why. The upshot of this is that seminars and education for exercise consumers are becoming more common. This is often seen in the area of behavior change and motivation, as well as specific exercise techniques. Your biggest support (or greatest enemy) when it comes to sustainable exercise is yourself, so it’s understandable you would want to be armed with the right information. Do make sure that you check on the credentials of the offerings, especially online. There are no compulsory standards for those offering exercise advice in New Zealand, so that website ‘expert’ could be someone with a great marketing team and no education.
If you want to embrace new trends and technology but still make sure you are getting a safe exercise programme, we recommend using a REPs registered exercise professional. These are exercise professionals who have the New Zealand exercise industry tick of approval to delivery both safe and effective exercise advice. They are also experience and qualified to deliver exercise advice at a level appropriate to you, be it as someone new, or experienced to exercise.