The Top Fitness Trends of 2019
1. Wearable Technology
Topping the list is wearable technology like fitness trackers, pedometers and heart rate monitors. The market for these products is booming and shows no signs of slowing down; in fact, sales hit more than $4 billion in 2017.
But if you’re buying wearable technology to lose weight, you might want to hold off. A recent study found that overweight participants in a randomized clinical trial who wore a wearable device actually lost less weight than another group who followed the same food and fitness plan without a fitness tracker. (1) This might be because people overeat after seeing exactly how much they exercised or moved that day or the exact opposite — someone who didn’t break a sweat one day might have gotten discouraged.
But that doesn’t mean technology isn’t useful for reaching your health goals. While I wouldn’t recommend wearing wireless devices beyond a short workout due to the exposure to electromagnetic radiation, using your smartphone to track your workouts or how much your eating can help you gauge patterns. (And quickly pivot from unhealthy ones.) If you’re a data geek, you can mine through days, weeks or even months of info to notice patterns in your habits.
One caveat: long-term use of wireless networks may have adverse effects on your health and increase the risk of things like oxidative stress, headaches and a decrease in cognition, while exposure to lights and technology right before bedtime can disrupt sleep patterns and decrease quality sleep. (2) Use your judgment on how much you rely on the devices and remove them — or at least put them into airplane mode— when it’s time to rest.
2. Group Training
Do you usually workout solo? 2019 could be the year to try group training.
Group training makes trying a new exercise, like spinning or boot camp, more fun. Having an experienced instructor can help keep you motivated and push you to go that extra bit. And bringing along a friend or making new ones in class has an effect, too. A little friendly competition can increase motivation to work harder, like in this exercise bike study. (3)
Participants either exercised alone, exercised with a partner or exercised with a partner and were told that test results were based on who was weakest. While the solo riders were on the bike for 10.6 minutes, the ones with a partner stayed on for 19.8 minutes. And the ones who were told their performance relied on their partner? They stayed on for double the amount of time, or 21.9 minutes. So grab a friend and get to class.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Most of us are short on time these days, so it’s no wonder that high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is one of the major exercise trends of the coming year.
Instead of spending a long time exercising at a moderate pace, with HIIT, you’ll engage in short bursts of exercise at maximum or near-maximum heart rate. That means you’ll burn more calories in 20 to 30 minutes than you would in a longer session. The benefits of HIIT are extensive— it’s one of my favorite ways to workout— but one of the most interesting findings is how it helps build endurance, too.