Fitness Trends 2016 in Three Words: Digital, Wearable, Personal

Michelle Anderson, Waubonsee Fitness Center Program Coordinator

It’s the month of packed gyms, new memberships and renewed commitments to health and fitness. If you’re one of the many planning to boost your efforts at the gym this month, do you know what to expect beyond the treadmills and weight room? Read on to avoid looking lost in the locker room, because this year’s predicted top trends in the fitness industry continue to merge technology with diet and exercise.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), this year’s top 10 trends in fitness are: Wearable technology, body weight training, high-intensity interval training, strength training, certified and experienced fitness professionals, personal training, functional fitness, fitness programs for older adults, exercise and weight loss, and yoga.

These predictions indicate that fitness – like everything else – is going digital and personalized. Wearable technology such as heart rate monitors, fitness trackers, smart watches and GPS tracking devices are hot. Examples of wearable technology now available to the masses are Polar, Misfit, Garmin, Jawbone, Fitbit and the newly released Apple.

At Waubonsee Community College’s Total Fitness Center, you’ll find that our programs and facilities mirror these fitness trends. Our incentive games encourage and reward participants to monitor their activities with personal devices. To aid those goals, our newly remodeled fitness center and dance studio in the field house are equipped with Apple Bluetooth technology to track participants’ efforts by displaying heart rates and calories burned during workouts. The data from workouts is then sent to participants, allowing them to track their progress.

New this spring, Waubonsee is offering Tabata Bootcamps, which are high-intensity interval training programs that incorporate a strength component using mostly body weight exercises to promote functional fitness. But the experience doesn’t end when you leave the gym. These classes promote lifestyle changes by offering online support for nutrition and exercise. Personal training has held a top ten position in ACSM’s Fitness Trends for the past nine years. The popularity of personal trainers follows the increasing expectation for personalization and customization.

Personal trainers are very helpful for the beginner, teaching proper techniques and customizing workouts around the client’s abilities and goals.

Yoga seems to be evergreen on the fitness trend list from year to year, probably because it is constantly reinvented and refreshed. Growing in popularity and offered at Waubonsee this spring, Power Yoga is a vigorous fitness-based approach to yoga that emphasizes both strength and flexibility.

Fitness trends are always changing but the purpose behind those efforts remains constant. Physical activity is one of the best modifiable factors for the prevention of diseases and mortality. Time at the gym will always be time well spent, and that will never go out of style. To learn more about Waubonsee’s Total Fitness Center, visit www.waubonsee.edu/totalfitnesscenter or call 630-466-2530.

Michelle Anderson is Waubonsee Community College’s Fitness Center Program Coordinator