Let’s face it: it’s hard to start a new year off without at least thinking a little bit about resolutions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a survey conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion showed that exercising more, weight loss, improving health and eating healthier were among the top resolutions among Americans. But is doing the same old workout and counting calories the only way to do that?
According to experts, no. In fact, there are a lot of trends happening right now to help people keep their resolutions in a variety of ways.
Athletic Trainer and Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Katie Patch shared that one of the most significant trends in the fitness industry are activity trackers.
An ever-growing segment of the population uses them to count steps or calories, monitor heart rates, sleep patterns and, of course, activity. Most users wear their devices 24/7, and there seems to be no end to the information that can be reported. In addition to the stats it tracks, a wearable device seems to keep health and fitness on the brain. Katie says preliminary studies have shown that those who consistently use such devices tend to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who do not.
While fitness trackers are more high-tech than ever, Katie notes that trends in exercise are getting simpler.
Using your body weight for training continues to grow in popularity and is exactly what it sounds like–using your body weight as resistance. Pushups, squats and pull-ups are all examples of these kinds of simple, but very effective, training options.
Other simple or even “throwback” classes include outdoor fitness, which can be as low-key as going for a walk. Aerobics and dance classes are also making a return, as the only thing that’s required are comfortable clothes and some music to get everyone moving.
Katie reports additional trends as compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine include:
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): short periods of high-intensity activity with short periods of rest. Most workouts are usually short in overall duration
- Strength Training: any form of fitness involving strengthening of the body, such as the use of weight machines, free weights or strength band exercises
- Personal Training: gaining personal instruction in form and body mechanics tailored to individuals
- Group Training: this includes not only gym-based offerings such as Pilates, Spin, or Yoga, but also informal exercise “classes” organized between friends
- Exercise as Medicine: primary care providers including physical fitness plans as part of treatment plans
As with exercise, there are also trends relating to how—and what—people are eating to improve their health and wellness.
“Many people are moving away from packaged foods that have a list of ingredients that are unrecognizable,” says Liane Vadheim, a registered dietitian with Holy Rosary Healthcare. “They’re ‘coming home’ to foods that are more wholesome, things that are minimally processed and that look like something their great-grandparents would have thought of as food.”
Montanans, Liane notes, have the chance to take advantage of the trend towards “locavorism,” which promotes choosing as many foods as possible within a 100-mile radius. Our state’s diverse agricultural heritage provides plenty of access to whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, eggs, dairy and locally-produced meat. She says this also supports the opportunity to enjoy a colorful diet full of nutrient-dense, phytochemical-rich foods such as beets, peppers and tomatoes.
“There are some people who are moving to more of a plant-based diet,” says Liane. “Of course, animal protein can still be part of a healthy diet, but people are willing to experiment more with beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.”
That includes, she says, “sprouting.” The sprouting process changes the nutrient content of seeds, nuts, grains and beans, increasing fiber and decreasing starches. It’s most often used in breads and crackers, with new products arriving on the market.
Just as there is a trend towards fitness being used as part of medicine, nutrition is as well. According to Liane, there are a variety of foods that improve health, such as:
- Spicy foods, which can help in lowering “bad” cholesterol and boost hormone production, counteracting the effects of stress
- Foods which are natural anti-inflammatories, such as tomatoes, berries, nuts, olive oil, leafy greens and fatty fish, just to name a few. Turmeric, ginger, paprika and other spices are also a natural way to reduce inflammation
- “Good fats” from salmon, almonds and avocados are now included as “healthy” in the newest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Yogurts and cheese, consumed in moderation, are also making their way off the “naughty” list
Liane recognizes that making the right food choices can be difficult for people who are just getting started. This is particularly true, she says, for people who may be overweight and at risk for heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
“For those at risk who really want to begin the process of long-term change, I would encourage them to sign up for the Healthy Lifestyles Program through Holy Rosary,” she says. “It’s offered twice yearly, and the first session for 2017 gets underway later this month.”
The Healthy Lifestyles program, which has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on a medically guided program that helps participants make long-term, sustainable changes. It consists of one-on-one sessions with a trained lifestyle coach, periodic assessments, personalized goal setting, a 16-week core program with weekly educational and exercise sessions and 6-month follow-up program with classes, assessments, and coaching sessions.
“We’ve seen participants achieve so much success in this program, including losing weight, lowering cholesterol and being more physical mobile,” Liane says. “And that’s a trend we look forward to seeing continue.”
Enrollment ends January 23 for the spring 2017 Session, call 406-233-4067 for complete details.