Incorporate Fitness Into Your Everyday Routine

“Sedentary Death Syndrome,” as the media calls it, is an epidemic.
By Cara Lucas

From television shows to political campaigns, the hot topic of obesity is now on the minds of many, and the public is finally ready to take action. People understand the serious implications of being overweight and the illnesses that unavoidably stem from it—diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, to name a few.

However, knowledge without action leads you down the road to nowhere. What better time to step up and make changes than the start of the new year? Taking advantage of your health is taking control of your life because, in most cases, good health precedes longevity.

It’s easy to incorporate fitness into your everyday routine due to the flexible nature of exercise. Yoga expert Gwen Lawrence says that there are creative ways to integrate physical activity into a busy schedule. “If it is your way of life, it is your way of life. If it is not, you have to become creative about what and how you do it,” explains Lawrence. “For example, do not make unreachable goals like a one hour workout every day. If you do not do it one day it sets you up to fail, and then a snowball effect happens. Instead, set more doable goals like 10 to 15 minutes a day. If you are lucky or have a less hectic day, add more. It is as simple as that.”

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) and its family of personal trainers, exercise scientists, group fitness experts, allied health providers, and lifestyle and weight management coaches have identified some leading health trends for the upcoming new year. These trends show the shift in how people view the obesity epidemic and their intent on making a whole-life change for better health and a fuller life experience.

Obesity awareness: ACE says that losing weight is still the primary reason people participate in exercise. Wanting to be healthy and physically active, go on dates, get off medications, sleep better, and, ultimately, feel good about yourself are all reasons that will continue to motivate movement in 2012.

Whole-life training: Finally, more people understand the importance of whole-life health. Being physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy are all facets to a happy, healthy life. People are beginning to seek out lifestyle coaches and personal trainers that use holistic methods to improve their lifestyles. ACE experts say that fitness facilities will provide more nutritionists, physical therapists, and psychologists to assist members in wellness-, nutrition-, and stress-management programs.

Behavior modification: Despite making significant strides in health education, ACE says most people still believe in following a restrictive or fad diet in order to lose weight. Fitness experts will continue to work with people to prove that there is no quick fix for lasting results.

Comunity collaboration: Obesity, fitness, and health are several platforms on which local leaders now base their campaigns. New legislation aims to promote fitness resources for military families and "Let's Move!", a national incentive, encourages young people and their families to be more physically active. Local programs aim to provide more access to gyms, parks, and recreation centers in addition to school basedprograms. There are often other as initiatives to educate and motivate low-income and at-risk families.

Influence of technology: From mp3 players to iPods to cell phones, Americans now have instant access to music, podcasts, and videos that motivate and inspire your workout. In the coming year, trends lean toward continued use of social media and mobile-based apps that provide an interactive fitness experience for the user. Fitness experts further explore one-on-one or small group instruction from anywhere in the world.

Senior and youth specialties: Aquatic and group fitness are the hot spots for older adults to get their workouts in. These  types of workouts provide low-impact, high-resistance movement, along with peers for support and motivation. First Lady Michelle Obama continues to advocate for active kids, so expect to see more physical fitness in schools, youth-focused classes in fitness centers, and families who participate in activities together.

Advanced professional education: Continuing education is important to fitness professionals and to the companies who hire them as employees. Emphasis on these accreditations will continue to be prevalent and held as bench markers in the fitness industry.

Workplace support : Given the tough economic times, ACE says that employers will seek to provide wellness programs through local fitness facilities and health clubs that offer total health management. Employee discounts and health insurance incentives also motivate workers to aim for better numbers on their annual physical.

Popular Workouts: ACE experts say that Zumba, boot camp-style workouts, TRX Suspension Training, and interval training will continue to be popular workout trends, along with balance and core training becoming more prevalent in 2012.

Start the new year by establishing your own fitness trend. Whether it’s getting to the gym, going for a walk, or simply improving your diet—you are capable of maximizing your health, and the new year is a great time to start making positive changes. Lawrence suggests these simple activities for a more active daily lifestyle: walk more, perform leg raises, scale the stairs in your house or building 10 to 15 reps, multiple times per week, or do crunches or lunges while watching a favorite television show.

It’s as easy as that, folks. Watch what you eat, perform some sort of physical activity, and you are on the road to losing weight and feeling better. As more people recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle, more will take strides to bettering their health in 2012. Exercise options are all around—it’s up to you to take advantage of them.