Fitness Trends 2018

Yes, it’s that time of year when people look for the perfect workout. While there’s no magic potion to increase your activity level, trying something new is a good thing, says Elizabeth Buckwalter, physical therapist assistant with Meritus Total Rehab Care at Robinwood. Elizabeth shares her insights on several new workout approaches.

Q: What’s your favorite new trend for 2018?

Elizabeth Buckwalter (EB): I like the concept behind Low Intensity Interval Training or LIIT. It’s similar to High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, but the cardio is less intense. With LIIT, you vary walking speeds and/or the direction you walk, for example a curved or straight line. The idea is to keep your body guessing by changing speed and direction every four to five minutes. Keep in mind that a LIIT takes longer, about 30-40 minutes, versus a HIIT workout of 15-20 minutes.

I see people new to exercise start a HIIT program and then get sidelined because of an injury. LIIT prepares your muscles, bones and joints for movement so there’s less risk of injury. And because it’s less intense, you’re more likely to stick with it.

Q: What workout stands the test of time?

EB: Group Classes such as cycling, strength training, aerobic, yoga and boot camp programs maintain longevity because of the social aspect. When you’re part of a group, you share a common goal and feel more accountable which makes you more likely to succeed.

Plus, an experienced instructor can demonstrate exercise modifications so it’s almost like having a personal trainer, but without the expense. A new twist on group exercise is Team Coaching where you get personalized attention from a personal trainer, but within a small group of like-minded individuals. Groups are organized by fitness level and there’s more focus on health, fitness and well-being.

Q: Is there any fitness trend that’s outside of the box?

EB: There’s a focus on Play-like Workouts. Think hula hoops, jump rope, dodge ball and trampolines. Lots of people get tired of the same old workout and stop exercising. Acting like a kid not only keeps it interesting, but you can also get healthy with your family.

Jumping on a trampoline is an excellent total body workout. Rocking a hula hoop works the core and jumping rope increases your heart rate. Start with an activity that makes you feel good and remember that any movement is good movement.

Q: Wearable devices remain popular. Are they worth the cost?

EB: Absolutely. In fact, wearable devices are more affordable than ever—selling for $60-250. I love my iWatch because it reminds me to stay active and compares my daily activity level. You can also use your device’s app to compete with others on number of steps taken each day. Wearables motivate you, hold you accountable and allow you to set goals.

Q: Any sage advice for people beginning a new year of exercise?

EB: Set realistic goals and don’t aim so high that you disappoint yourself and stop working out. Also, erase the mantra of “no pain, no gain” from your mind. A mild muscle burn or stress is OK, but stressing muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones too fast or too often can cause inflammation or even stress fractures.