Here at Beyond Diet, we all know how important it is to eat healthy, natural, whole foods. But although your diet is the most important factor in ensuring weight-loss success, exercise can play a pretty big role, too.
You all know that I don't spend hours in the gym every day, and I don't want you to either. Finding some form of exercise that you (mostly) enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle is the key to sticking with it. To help you find something that fits your fitness style, let's look at some new workout trends.
Have you ever heard of exercising your brain? It may sound strange, but brain-based exercise is quickly becoming a hot new fitness trend. And no, I'm not talking about tackling the Sunday crossword puzzle or working on your Sudoku skills. Certain physical exercises can actually help our brains perform better. According to some research (the father of cognition was renowned psychologist Jean Piaget), brain fitness can improve our attention, reasoning, memory, and problem-solving and decision-making skills. No more losing your keys or forgetting where you parked the car? Sign me up!
There are quite a few ways to exercise your brain. One is called crossing the midline, and it's super easy. Stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Cross your right arm over your midline and touch your left knee, then repeat on the opposite side. Or, try the elbow tap to exert a little more energy. Again, stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Raise your left leg and touch your right elbow with your left knee, then switch sides.
No matter how much we work out or how strictly we follow a healthy eating plan, we will still age. (Duh!) But there is a new fitness trend that aims to slow down the aging process, appropriately called anti-aging workouts. Exercise (along with healthy eating) is excellent for preventing osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease. As we get older, our loss of muscle and bone mass makes us more susceptible to fracturing our bones and injuring ourselves during routine activities. The good news is that by doing strength-training exercises for about 30 minutes twice a week, we can increase our bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis.
If you feel uncomfortable working with free weights or strength-training machines - or if you don't have access to a gym - fear not. Using your own body weight as resistance is really gaining popularity as a new fitness technique. Yep, all you need is yourself! In fact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, strength training in which one uses their own body weight is the third most popular form of exercise, just behind working with a personal trainer and the using free weights or strength-training machines.
Two simple body-weight exercises are push-ups and sit-ups. But instead of doing them the old-fashioned way, get creative! You can use any raised surface in your house or office (think desks, kitchen tables, counter tops, the hood of your car, bathtub edges, etc.) or even playground equipment if you are at the park with your kids.
Another fitness trend is exercise aimed at kids. It's crazy how much technology has changed in the past 20 years, and I think our children sometimes pay the price for this. When I was growing up, we played outside and kept ourselves active because we didn't have the convenience of playing video games or surfing the Web for hours. It's so important for all of us to help teach our kids the negative implications associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, and the best way to do that is by modeling healthy behavior yourself.
Group personal training is also on the rise. This is partially because group training sessions are cheaper than individual sessions. But there is also a lot to be said for the camaraderie and motivation of working out with other people. If you are apprehensive about joining a gym, this may be a great introduction for you, since you will be with a group of other people who are in the same boat and who have the same goals. Many gyms now offer really specific group personal-training sessions, such as boot camps for brides-to-be or groups for people who want to lose 100 pounds or more. If you look, I bet you'll find something that's tailor-made for you!