This week let’s take an early look at projected health and fitness trends for 2016. Looking back, 2015 was on target with high intensity training, body weight training, and yoga trending very high. Another interesting thing about 2015 is the year saw a positive shift, with better nutrition and true heathy living trends holding steady for more people. Looking at statics from groups like the CDC, we are improving our health and fitness in some areas.
The other side of those statics is still trending poorly in areas, such as our national obesity rates, which are up with no signs of dropping soon.
Here is a look at projected trends for 2016.
• No to GMOs
It seems that many consumers are just not willing to include GMOs in their diets. Science may support that GMOs do not present a risk to our food chain, but genetic manipulation scares many of us.
Trends from surveys and statics show that consumers lack confidence in GMO foods and prefer GMO-free fare. Consumers also want to know when they are exposed to GMO foods, so demands for better food labeling of GMO products will also trend up in 2016.
• Wearable Technology
I for one saw this coming back in 2011 with early gadgets tied to smart phones like heart rate monitors showing up on runners and at the gym with pretty high frequency.
Fast forward to 2016 and you will see everything from biometric shirts, enhanced smart trackers, watches, and very advanced GPS fitness trackers.
Look for more options coming in the form of smart clothing like digital insoles for your running shoes and shirts with metal fibers infused to track breathing and heart rate.
Let’s not forget workout shorts that map your muscle movements or the wrist band that allows a personal drone to follow you while shooting video of your exercise related activity.
• Exercise Apps
Smart phone exercise apps just keep getting better, giving us a huge variety of options.
As mobile devices advance, 2016 will see huge leaps in these apps. Younger fitness folks love the realtime stats and frankly many are addicted to the technology. Wearable tech and apps come hand in hand and new developments are creating very exciting options for fitness professionals and daily users. There is even a crypto-currency app called Bitwalking that pays you to walk.
• Functional Fitness is a super hot topic.
Even though gym memberships have reach an all time high, the reality is most people ether do not have time or just do not want to workout at a gym.
Enter Functional Fitness which is based on making your day-to-day chores and activity into your workout.
Need to walk the dog? Then add a few extra miles to the task. Walking up and down stairs all day? Great, add a few extras laps to that routine. This is a great, lasting trend, since it does not require you to change your daily routine too much and it is part of what you are already doing.
• High Intensity Interval Training
HIIT is still the 600 pound gorilla in fitness trends this year.
HITT is described as bursts of intense activity for short periods followed by a longer recovery period of less intense activity.
Moving forward, there will be more options and variation of programs in this category. More and more HIIT programs are moving out of the gym and incorporating basic training methods. These programs are truly effective as a full body, low impact and short in duration workout.
• Body Weight Training
As mentioned last year, and the year before, Body Weight Training just keeps moving up in the trends. Body Weight Training also ties nicely with functional fitness methods.
These types of exercises tie back to another year of increased high intensity interval training as well.
When you think of body weight training you tend to think of standard PT type training like push-ups and jumping jacks that have been used for centuries as a form of resistance training.
As stated before, Body Weight Training uses minimal equipment, which makes it an inexpensive way to exercise effectively.
• Group personal training
This is a fairly popular new trend and for good reason. Group training is much more cost effective and a win win for both the personal trainer and client. Training two or three people at the same time makes good economic sense; the trainer makes more revenue in the typical two hour window and the clients save big with the group buy.
I see group training to continue to become more and more popular in 2016. When you bring small groups together it adds a small degree or competitiveness and a bit more fun that you just don’t get with a one on one approach.
What can be said here? Yoga is amazing and is always at the top of fitness trends each year with new and different variations popping up across the country.
Traditional Yoga continues to be one of the most popular health and fitness regimens for women, and more men should follow their lead.
• Clean Eating
2016 will continue to see an increase demand for eating clean on the go.
Fast food companies will continue to add healthy fare to their drive thru menus. Consumers are migrating to healthy choices when they dine out at a very high rate, so expect to see more positive changes in the industry.
• Another growth area in 2016 will be in the proliferation of whole foods organic eateries. I am sure we will see more companies like True Foods Kitchen, Veggie Grill, LYFE Kitchen, Panera Bread and others expand into more markets.
These kinds of companies will help make dining out a little bit more of a health conscience experience in 2016 and beyond.
Whether it is a short lived dance fad like Zumba or as ubiquitous as yoga, I believe we are trending toward a more health conscious culture in the United States.
So 2016 should be another great year of advancements in both nutrition, fitness technology, and exercise programs.
Judd Jones is a director for the Hagadone Corp.
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