Every New Year millions of us set health and fitness resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight or gain muscle. Compared to December, gym attendance in the month of January increases by 50%. That means that you and your closest 500 newly-fit friends will be hitting the local gym at the same time. If you’re interested in a gym, the Better Business Bureau has a comprehensive list of tips for choosing a membership. But what if the best way to reach your fitness goals was found outside of those sweat-soaked gym walls? We’ve gathered top fitness trends for 2018 that will get you off the treadmill and into a challenging, but rewarding, fit routine.
*Disclaimer: Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise routines. Safety first!
Combining two of the most popular forms of exercise, running and hiking, trail running has grown in popularity over the years. New runners enjoy the low initial investment of a pair of running shoes and seasoned runners seek new scenery and a new challenge. The dirt ground offers a reprieve from the pounding pavement on joints, while the uneven footing and varying terrain challenges mental focus and physical ability. One missed step could be costly. Trail running has also been listed as the Sixth Most Popular Extreme Sport, behind skating, skateboarding, paintball, climbing and snowboarding.
Beginners should start slowly at a brisk, but safe, pace to gain strength, endurance and stamina, and then slowly add speed and mileage to their runs. Also, follow basic safety tips: Tell someone where you will be running, bring your cell phone, know your trail routes and pack a few safety essentials with you. Hereare some tips to stay injury-free as you begin trail running.
Running safely is key to enjoying the sport again and again. Any uncomfortable experiences will lower the chance of success. Chafe and blisters are common occurrences when trail running. 2Toms® SportShield® anti-chafe and BlisterShield®blister prevention offer travel-sized options that fit easily into a running pack or shorts pocket. They are easy to apply and will protect you throughout your run, no matter if it’s 2 miles or 100 miles. You will have a chafe and blister-free run!
While it may not be the newest fitness trend, it is still one of the most popular; High intensity interval training is a type of training that pushes you to your max effort during a quick burst of exercise, followed by a short recovery period. You repeat the process many times for a full workout. This type of work out quickly raises and maintains a high heart rate leading to a fast caloric burn and metabolism boost. The Daily Burn has a list of benefits of HIIT training and a sample workout.
This type of work out could be done at home with no exercise equipment or you could increase the challenge by joining a group of HIIT fanatics. Groups like Camp Gladiator and CrossFit have created a close-knit community that meet at public parks or a “Box” (a CrossFit-specific gym) to work out in a team environment for added motivation and accountability. You might do exercises like tire flips, rope climbs, speed drills and weight lifting. Each person goes at their own pace and there is a certified trainer leading the exercises, so it is welcoming to newbies and fitness veterans alike.
HIIT workouts can put strain on your body, especially if you’re new to this type of exercise. Tools that can help you to better compete are 2Toms GripShield® grip enhancer for hands and Cho-Pat® Dual Action Knee Strap to support your knees during the multiple jumps, lunges and squats. This guide will help you pinpoint and treat common knee pain.
If the thought of burpees and chin-ups make you cringe, you might enjoy Low Impact Exercise. Low Impact Exercises include cycling/spin, walking/hiking, swimming or any of the 21 workouts listed here. While you may not be grunting and groaning your way through your workout, you will still be gaining the same benefits of increased heart rate, resistance training, and calorie burn. These types of exercise are great for someone new to exercise, suffering from joint pain, recovering from injury or illness or an athlete needing an active recovery day from an intense training schedule. In any case, low impact exercise is a win-win for anyone who adds it to their fitness routine.
Even low-impact exercise comes with its uncomfortable moments from time-to-time. Preventing these issues is crucial. Using an anti-chafe, such as 2Toms ButtShield®, that is safe for sensitive areas, will protect you from saddle sores and chafe. Here are Four Ways for Cyclists to Use ButtShield to Prevent Chafing While Cycling.
Also, maintaining flexibility as you increase duration or intensity of your exercise will go a long way in preventing sore muscles and future injuries. The CoreStretch® is a stretching device for your back and posterior muscles and ligaments. It will increase muscle flexibility in your hamstrings, lower back, upper back, hips and glutes. Here is more information about stretching for injury prevention.
For the adventurous at heart, Obstacle Course Races will fire up your fitness engines! These races offer courses of varying distance and difficulty to accommodate any person. You will run, jump, climb and crawl over as many as 20 different obstacles throughout the race. It requires full-body strength and agility, as well as endurance and mental toughness. And you can’t be afraid to get really dirty!
Obstacle course racing is steadily growing to be one of the most-participated races, with 1 million participants in 2011 and growing to 5.6 million in 2016. The most popular obstacle races are Rugged Maniac, Spartan™ Race and Tough Mudder. An added perk is that these races typically take place during a weekend-long festival including live music, food vendors and sponsor booths with free swag or samples. You can find race-specific training programs online (here is training for Spartan Race) or with local training groups depending on your location.
Since these races are a full-body challenge, taking care of your entire body is critical. Stretching and injury-prevention from head to toe will help you fly across the fire pit at the finish line. Cho-Pat straps and compression sleeves offer a full line of soft supports and muscle compression items to reduce pain and improve recovery post-race. 2Toms SportShield is a waterproof, sweat proof anti-chafe that will last throughout the entire course, protecting your skin from chafe and blisters. 2Toms GripShield will keep your hands dry and sweat-free for those tough rope climbs. The 2Toms StinkFree® line will wash all of your dirty, sweaty, muddy clothes and shoes so you’re ready for the next obstacle challenge!
Yoga Trends? Yes! Yoga has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until this past year that yoga became more…umm, creative! And we suspect it will get only wackier in 2018. Between hot yoga, beer yoga, goat yoga or silent yoga, you can choose any style or animal for your yoga adventure. Fitness trends overall have responded to the increased popularity of building a social community around health, but yoga has really Omm’d the space (sorry for the pun!). Making a yoga session more of an event has boosted its appeal among many who have never tried yoga before. Business Insider has a neat video of Five Weird Yoga Trends that Took Off in 2017. Ask your local studio if they’ll let Scruffy join you for downward dog!
While sipping your IPA during yoga is fun, slipping on your mat or having your Lululemon pants hang on to post-sweat smell is not. Check out 2Toms FootShield™ to prevent your feet from sweating and creating odor in your sandals or shoes. Even hot yoga is no match for FootShield! 2Toms StinkFree Detergent will rid your favorite yoga pants, and all of your fitness gear, of sweaty, funky smells. It’s non-fragranced but does scientifically remove bacteria from technical materials to ensure that odor is eradicated.
As you begin this New Year, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try out a new fitness trend! And while new challenges are exciting, please remember to go at your own pace, gradually build up to harder exercises and take time for rest and recovery. Medi-Dyne® and 2Tomsoffer a complete line of products to help you achieve your #fitgoals in 2018!
Before responsibility takes over and while the sunshine and blue skies are perfect for time spent by the pool or enjoying a cool drink at your favorite outdoor café, let’s take a minute to talk about the favorite shoe of summer, the flip-flop.