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Full-body fitness trends for the New Year

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Fitness trends for 2011

It’s a new year and a new start, which means it’s time to get out of your fitness rut and commit to getting (and staying) in shape. To inspire you to hit the gym, we’ve rounded up some of the fitness trends set to take 2011 by storm.

Woman in yoga studio

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), we're going back to basics this year when it comes to getting sweaty. The ACSM surveyed more than 19,000 fitness professionals to come up with the top fitness trends for 2011. What they found is myriad muscle and cardio conditioning that has a familiar ring. Move over, new-fangled fitness gear, and make way for the tried and true activities we know and trust.

Fitness trend #1:

Boot camp workouts

Get ready for butt-kicking fitness, as boot camp classes remain a popular form of fitness for 2011. Usually done in groups and outdoors (weather permitting), they incorporate a variety of activities to get your heart pumping, such as running, jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups and other basic, burn-inducing actions. There's no fancy footwork to learn or complicated equipment – just you, your body and an instructor who won't take no for an answer when it comes to 10 more push-ups.

Fitness trend #2:

Core training

Everyone wants a flat stomach, or better yet a defined midsection that shows a dedication to crunches. So it makes sense that core training is "in." Exercising the core muscles is a great way to not only improve how you look in a bikini, but also your overall stability and strength. Having a strong core will help protect your back from injury and also improve your posture. Check out your local gym for core-specific classes or do some core work at home with some of our ab-sculpting exercises.

Fitness trend #3:

Strength training

According to the ACSM survey, an enduring fitness trend for both men and women is to incorporate strength training into their exercise routines rather than focusing solely on cardio. The result is more muscle mass, which increases the number of calories you burn, even at rest. Hitting the weight room also strengthens bone density (minimizing your chances of getting osteoporosis), builds muscle to help protect your joints, and reduces your risk of injury. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggests adults should do strength training exercises at least two days a week.

Fitness trend #4:

Yoga

Definitely not a new activity on the fitness scene, yoga is expected to make a resurgence in the year ahead. Yoga's benefits are both physical and mental. Spending quality time with your yoga mat can help increase flexibility, build strength, tone muscles, and also clear your mind and reduce stress. Because of the different types of yoga, be sure to talk to a yoga instructor or other fitness professional about which yoga classes are right for you.

Fitness trend #5:

Functional fitness

Functional fitness encompasses using strength training to improve basics like balance, coordination and endurance to enhance your ability to perform everyday activities like lifting your toddler, walking up and down stairs, or simply running for the bus in the morning. Functional fitness routines focus on exercises that build your basics (balance, endurance, etc.) so you can live better, stronger and healthier. Think activities like squats, lunges and working your core on a balance board, and eventually incorporating weights or other resistance training moves.

Fitness trend #6:

Spinning

Popular for several years now, spinning is again in the top tier of fitness trends for 2011. If you've never experienced a spinning class, you're in for the workout of your life. You'll sweat like you've never sweated before, which is great for anyone looking for a big cardio boost and serious calorie burn. Participants in a spinning class each use a stationary bike and an instructor leads the group through a cycling routine that includes speed changes and increases and decreases in tension/resistance.

More on functional fitness

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