Our drive for fitness and strength has existed since the beginning of time. Whether from pure necessity (out-running predators required a certain amount of speed), because we want to look good, or to optimize our health and wellness for longevity, humans have devised countless colorful ways to get our bodies into shape. Today is no different, with some surprising approaches taking the stage for a very fit 2013.
While Tough Mudder is a relatively new phenomenon, people have been running obstacle courses for centuries. Once reserved for basic training in the military, people are now signing up to hurl themselves over walls, crawl through barbed-wire covered mud, and wade through swampy waters to test their mettle. The fastest growing demographic to join the trend are women. Marie Claire Magazine notes that “women across the country are ditching their Pilates mats and Spinning shoes for this new hard-core workout craze” in the article Hit the Dirt: The Latest Workout Craze from the April 2013 issue. Intense 10 to 12 mile courses force participants to train for every likelihood including running, swimming, climbing, crawling and jumping. In some cases, even dodging live electric wires. Tough Mudder’s have to live up to the name of the race, if they hope to complete it in one piece.
Yoga has been practiced for a millennia, but in the past ten years it has gone mainstream. According to a recent Forbes Magazine article, about “20 million Americans over the age of 18 practiced yoga last year, or 8.7% of the adult population, up from 15.8 million in 2008…of those polled who didn’t currently practice, 44% said they’d like to, making them “aspirational yogis.” The business of yoga is growing fast, too. Americans are spending $10.7 billion a year on yoga classes and gear (pants, mats, bags, blocks), up 88% from 2008.” And with mounting scientific evidence points to yoga, and meditation, as a way to improve everything from anxiety and depression, to brain function, to flexibility and muscle tone, its unlikely that this growth trend will slow down anytime soon.
Jumping Shoes admittedly look a little unusual, but putting a spring in your step takes stress off your joints. Kangoo Jumps are boots with springs on the soles allowing you to jog or do aerobics, burning calories while being gentle on your body–think of them as shock absorbers for your feet. (Note: if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or balance problems, best to chose shoes without springs in them!)
Flywheel puts a high-tech spin and adds extra heat to your spin workout. Flywheel bikes have sensors that check how hard you’re working. Your name — and your stats — can be flashed on a large screen to compete against your fellow indoor cyclists. The Flywheel indoor cycling ride includes climbs and descents, while working arms with weighted bars. Pumping music and an instructor yelling out RPM’s and goals for your 45 to 60 minute workout keep the pace moving, and your heart racing.
Today there is something for everyone, even those who easily lose interest in a workout routine will find enough variety to keep them busy until…well, until the next spate of work out crazes hit the market.
What will you be trying next? Share your favorite workout routine with us, old or new.