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Fitness trends

How to sort through the latest training programs and techniques

Fitness trends
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New fitness activities generating buzz

BY NICOLE KERBRAT
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, January / February 2015

There was a time when it seemed like getting fit was a pretty straightforward thing.

You would go to the gym and lift a few weights or run around the track and wait for your body to reveal the effects of all your efforts.

But things change. And, as with most things in life, choice is the key word.

Today, the growing demand for fitness has given birth to a broad range of programs and training techniques, all tailored to meet the needs of individuals who want to get their burn on.

Yes, the tried and true approaches to fitness - lifting weights and running the track - remain popular with many. But a significant number of people are also trying some of the new programs.

Take boot camp. It emerged in the fitness world a few years ago and has been going strong ever since.

As the name suggests, boot camp was developed from military-style fitness training. It is done in groups, where team effort is valued. Boot camp classes start with dynamic stretching (using momentum to propel the muscle to the maximum extension of stretch) and running, followed by some interval training using weights, TRX, plyometrics (known as "jump training," when muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time), and explosive exercises. Sessions typically finish with a stretch.

These classes help push people to do more than they would normally do on their own. It is a great exercise class for those who get bored at the gym or have a hard time developing a habit of exercise. People can go at their own pace when doing a boot camp class, and the fitness professional who teaches it is there to motivate and guide you through the exercises.

The great thing about all these new fitness activities is that they can attract people who use them to improve their health and well-being. The bad thing is that they can also end up discouraging those who buy into something that may not be their cup of tea, so to speak.

The fact is that fitness fads and trends come and go. And while some do fade, others end up staying around and become an important part of the fitness movement - like resistance (strength) training, core training and yoga.

Indeed, many of the fitness trends we see today have evolved from past popular trends. Zumba, for example, came from the '70s Jazzercise and the '80s Step Aerobics. Boot camp, CrossFit, P90X and Insanity workouts are all based on a highintensity interval training (HIIT) principle developed by Arthur Jones in the 1970s for weight training.

With that in mind, I have assembled a bit of a guide for those who may be thinking about getting active this winter. It is designed to give you a glimpse into some of the new fitness activities generating buzz these days and what you may want to consider before signing up.

Nicole Kerbrat is a Kinesiology and Recreation Management Student at the University of Manitoba and a practicum student with the Winnipeg Health Region's Physical Activity Promotion Team.

Wave: January / February 2015

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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