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Finding your way to fitness

fitness optionsJoining a gym, signing up for an exercise class, hiring a personal trainer or committing to an at-home fitness regimen all are great ways to kick-start a healthy new year, but will you still be sticking with it by the time spring break rolls around?

When it comes to working out, a key to staying motivated is finding and following a fitness program that suits your lifestyle, your fitness level and even your personality.

Following are the fitness regimens that will be most popular in 2015, according to more than 3,400 fitness professionals surveyed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):

1. Body weight training. Resistance exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges and planks are the trend fitness professionals predicted as the top trend for 2015. “These kinds of exercises provide the benefit of requiring little to no equipment and are incorporated into many fitness programs that are currently popular,” ACSM survey author Walter Thompson said.

2. High-intensity interval training (HITT). HITT programs involve short bursts of activity followed by short periods of rest. They are usually accomplished in less than a half hour, so they’re a good choice for those looking for a quick workout.

3. Working with educated, experienced fitness professionals. Many people prefer to work under the direction of fitness experts, such as those who are certified by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

4. Strength training. Regardless of one’s activity level, building muscle strength (along with doing aerobic exercise and improving flexibility) is an important component of a complete exercise program. Examples include resistance exercises using free weights, machines or one’s own body weight.

5. Personal training. Working with a personal trainer provides motivation and encouragement, individualized instruction, consistency and expert advice on determining one’s optimal workout. Improved safety also is a benefit.

6. Exercise and weight loss. If losing weight is a goal, working with a health and fitness professional who can develop a weight loss program combining exercise and nutrition guidance can be invaluable.

7. Yoga. Most everyone can do yoga, which involves a series of specific bodily postures. Benefits can include increased flexibility, improved strength, better breathing, better posture, stress reduction, lower blood pressure and a slower heart rate. There are various types of yoga and even classes geared specifically for children and for adults aged 50 and older.

8. Fitness programs for older adults. According to the ACSM, baby boomers with money to spend are driving the trend toward fitness professionals developing age-appropriate fitness programs geared specifically toward older adults.

9. Functional fitness. The term “functional fitness” refers to training the body to better handle the activities of daily living by getting the muscles to work together. Some exercises are geared for flexibility, some for agility, some for improving balance. Examples include working with balance balls, kettle balls and weights. Many older adults choose functional fitness training to build strength and reduce the risk of falling.

10. Group personal training. Group training falls in the same category as working with a personal trainer, but since trainers are working with two or more clients at a time, it generally is less expensive.

Other trends identified by survey respondents include outdoor activities, such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and playing games or sports; circuit training; core training; sport-specific training; and boot camp. And some regimens that formerly were considered top fitness trends, such as Zumba, are still offered.

Trendy or not, the best fitness regimen is the one you’ll stick with.

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