MIND + BODY Exercises

When thinking ahead to 2017 and what the future is for fitness, it’s easy to see the trends that will be sticking around and the ones that will not. I am always amazed every year how much more sense fitness is making as people learn better and smarter ways to train.

1. WEARABLE TECH

For sure, the biggest trend that’s going nowhere in 2017 are the wearable devices that we use to track mileage, heart rate and calories. They come in all sorts, such as Fitbit, Garmin, Apple, Samsung, Polar, etc.

I can see this technology getting even smarter and more user-friendly. Each of these companies is learning and growing to define this space more precisely. From built-in Spotify to GPS to personalized breathing exercises, these watches are SMART!

If you haven’t already joined the millions who already utilize these trackers, 2017 may be your year — and it may be best that you waited for all the improvements coming.

2. SMALL GROUP TRAINING

Another trend that will be sticking around is small group training. This comes in many forms. This is not a full-on fitness class but a small group of 2-8 people who want a closer kind of personal training.

Many times, the trainers for these classes are certified personal trainers, so there lies the advantage. This is an affordable way to get a more personalized workout without doling out the bucks for individual personal training.

We see friends doing this together a lot. They hold each other accountable and act as cheerleaders to motivate each other. It’s a win-win for all involved.

3. BARBELL CLASSES

As we get smarter, we have learned that cardio is not the only way to get into and stay in shape. In fact, it is a small piece of the whole puzzle.

Strength-training is one of the most important things we all can do for our health. If you have the chance to get to one of these classes (several brands available), you will see why they are so popular.

Each student has a barbell set that includes a bar and several plates of different weights. Then the fun begins.

The workout is a mixture of upper and lower body with core. Some of the movements include squats, lunges, chest press, deadlifts and rows. Plus, the workout is set to really motivating music.

This is an excellent way to learn these movements in an unintimidating environment with exercises you may have never considered doing.

4. MIND + BODY

Mind-body exercises are also growing in popularity. Year after year, we are realizing how great yoga is for us.

There are many types of yoga and instructors and trainers dreaming up new and challenging ways to incorporate yoga into mainstream exercise.

You may have heard of Power Yoga, Bikram, Ashtanga or Vinyasa. Prenatal Yoga will always be popular as expectant moms look for ways to stay flexible and fit. The types may vary by the amount of poses done or even the temperature of the room. But the fact is that yoga has too many benefits to list, including but not limited to increased flexibility, weight reduction, improved performance and injury protection.

5. PERSONAL TRAINERS

Hiring a personal trainer is an important step in your fitness journey. This is an investment in your health, so the No. 1 rule is to pick the right fit for you.

What are your fitness goals? Try to pick a trainer who aligns with your beliefs, and who will motivate you and push you but also be honest with you. Sometimes it is hard to hear the truth.

To be successful with a trainer, you have to fully commit to having your mind in the game, or you will be wasting your money.

Look for someone with an extensive background. Anybody can get an online certification. Anybody. Try to find someone who has some type of fitness degree, plus a Personal Trainer certification on top of that. Then you be assured they have spent years, not days, studying the science of fitness and health.

Most importantly, be sure they know about alignment and safety. You should never be asked to do something you feel is unsafe. Never.

6. BUT SKIP THE GOOFY GADGETS

The trends you have to watch out for are the too-good-to-be-true trends. The latest and greatest. The seen-on-TV gadgets. If you watch TV, you have probably landed on one of these infomercials.

While these folks get credit for some darn good marketing, mostly we can live by the saying, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." As with anything, do your research and don’t invest in gadgets.

In 2017, your workouts should be well-rounded and cover all the bases. Be sure and mix it up to train your body and your mind, and you will have a great new year!

Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer and manager of the Oxford YMCA. "Fitness over 50" is published the third Sunday of each month.

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