Fitness is an ever-changing field. There are always new machines, methods and theories aimed at improving the quality of life. Fitness fads can come and go, but there have been several trends in fitness that have lasted for several decades and continue to grow in popularity.
Aerobic exercise has always formed the backbone of the fitness industry. Running, step aerobics, dance type aerobics, boxing, kickboxing and spinning, an indoor cycling class with music, have become mainstays in health and fitness facilities. Its popularity continues to grow.
Aquatic exercise has also gained popularity. Water has the unique ability to enable cardiovascular and muscular improvements with little stress on the body’s joints. Aquatic exercise is no longer just swimming; almost all kinds that can be done on land are now done on the water. Running, spinning, aerobics, and even strengthening can be done in the water.
With improved health care and longer life expectancy, exercise for older adults has expanded and has also become a necessity to maintain a positive quality of life. Older adults not only exercise to maintain and improve health, they also participate in competitive road races, cycling races, and bodybuilding competitions. Age barriers no longer exist and because of this, fitness classes aimed at the elderly population are widespread.
As grandparents and great-grandparents participate in sports and fitness, they set an example for younger generations. These younger generations have the benefit of improved technology and more abundant food, and with these things, and a more sedentary lifestyle, comes the greater chance that they will have a less healthy lifestyle than the active members of their older family. . The field of fitness combats this possibility of an unhealthy life with sports and fitness programs geared towards children and young adults. This fitness trend now faces the challenge of improving the health of future generations and has the opportunity to foster a life of healthy habits.
But the biggest transformation in the field of fitness has been the growth of mind and body exercises. There has been a shift towards gentler, more introspective exercises that also help improve cardiovascular health while increasing flexibility and muscle strength. Yoga and Pilates would fall into this category of exercise. Yoga has its roots in ancient India (around 2800 BC) and focuses on breathing and mindfulness while practicing sustained poses. Pilates, on the other hand, was developed by Joseph H. Pilates (1880-1967) around 1926. The Pilates method included a unique series of stretching and strengthening exercises. Both yoga and Pilates use an individual’s breath and self-awareness as the focus of exercise. Aside from the obvious strength and flexibility benefits, these mind-body exercises are popular for their stress-relieving qualities.