As the year winds down and the festivities pick up, celebrating, feasting and socializing have replaced our usual routines.
Tempting our taste buds, challenging our willpower and seeming to appear everywhere we look, high-caloric tasty treats and libations beckon us to indulge.
This time of year,, schedules filled to the brim, short days and cold weather create the perfect storm for putting exercise on hold.
For now, you may just enjoy yourself and go with the flow, but before you know it, 2013 will be here. And with the New Year comes the opportunity to make a fresh start and create healthy new habits.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the top three fitness trends for 2013 are strength training, body weight training and core training.
1. Strength training
In strength training you use resistance tubing, free weights and weight machines to build strength, muscle size and endurance. This type of exercise is very beneficial for both men and women.
In addition to reducing body fat, increasing lean muscle mass and burning calories more efficiently, strength training aids in maintaining strong bones, reducing risk of injury, boosting stamina and managing chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
2. Body weight training
Here you build muscle by using your own body weight as resistance. This type of exercise goes back to basics by performing pushups, pull-ups, planks, wall sits, burpees, mountain climbers and lunges.
A huge draw for these oldies but goodies is that they can be performed virtually anywhere by people of all ages and fitness levels and costs nothing. The benefits include weight loss and an increase in strength and flexibility.
3. Core training
We tend to think of the core as abs. However, it’s much more than that. The core consists of the many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis and runs the entire length of the torso.
Toning these muscle groups creates a solid base of support, reduces back pain and enhances balance and stability. Developing functional fitness, the type of fitness that is essential to daily living and regular activities is the greatest benefit of core training.
As we ring out the old and welcome in the new, make a commitment to add exercise to your weekly schedule with these easy activities.
Other fun ways to increase fitness can be to join a recreational sports league, learn to dance or discover the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga.
Be creative, find ways to add movement to your usual routine and have fun with it. However “athletic” as these may sound, jumping to conclusions, social climbing, running amok, throwing your weight around, hanging by a thread, hurling insults, playing hooky, and dancing around the issue just won’t make you fit, trim or toned.
Instead, take a leap of faith and rise to the occasion. It’s time to spring into action. Get on the ball. Push the limits and pull out all the stops. Shake a leg and hop to it!
Make 2013 the year you will get and stay fit!
Debbie Friend, MSc is the Founder and CEO of LifeCurrents and a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader in Chicago, IL. Follow Debbie on Twitter