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Five fitness trends you might want to try

Fitness has become a trendy affair these days, with one fad giving way to another. Last year, dancercise and spinning were in trend, while yoga and endurance building seem to be making a comeback in 2013.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 23, 2013 19:02 IST
Petrina D’Souza

Fitness has become a trendy affair these days, with one fad giving way to another. Last year, dancercise and spinning were in trend, while yoga and endurance building seem to be making a comeback in 2013. International celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, whose clients include Hollywood stars like Halle Berry, Jessica Alba and Bradley Cooper among others, was in town recently to promote her 3-2-1 training method. She says, “Trends come and go. What’s important is that you do what you like.”

Indian fitness expert Mickey Mehta agrees. He says, “Most people try trends to free themselves from their routine. Whatever the trend, exercises need to be done on a regular basis.”

Here are five fads the two feel could leave a mark on the 2013 fitness calendar.

Power yoga
This is a trend that we are already familiar with. It is essentially similar to an aerobic workout, where yoga poses are done faster and in continuation. “It is a dynamic, fitness based form of yoga that when practised regularly helps your body achieve stability, balance and posture. It is a fast-paced workout and can be practised by
anyone who enjoys exercising,” says Mickey Mehta. This type of yoga has several benefits. “It helps burn more calories, builds stamina, strength and flexibility. It also improves blood circulation, boosts the immune system and alleviates stress and tension,” he explains.

Circuit training
It involves high-intensity aerobics. An exercise circuit means completion of prescribed exercises in the training program. When a circuit is completed, one begins from the first exercise again. “The more intense the workout, the more calories one burns. You work on different muscles at each station. This allows a rest period without actually stopping. So you can exercise for longer periods without getting tired. It keeps you motivated and alleviates boredom,” says Mickey Mehta. Studies at Baylor University, Texas, and The Cooper Institute, Dallas, show that circuit training is a good way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and build muscle endurance, especially for women.

Aerial yoga
Also known as anti-gravity yoga, it was developed by former US gymnast-dancer Christopher Harrison. The key is the hammock that acts as your support system. It supports your hips for forward and backward bends. “This workout takes yoga to an aerial platform. You perform the postures wrapped in a hammock that hangs from the ceiling,” says Ramona Braganza. Anti-gravity yoga increases strength in arms, legs, abs, and more. “It involves balancing in the air and performing asanas and breathing. It improves spine strength and agility as the inversion suspension does not put stress on cervical muscles. It relieves compressed joints and improves core muscle strength,” adds Mickey Mehta.

HITS (High intensity training strategies)
It is a form of strength training popularised in the 1970s by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus, a fitness company that helps people achieve a healthy lifestyle. It focuses on short bursts of intense exercise. “It involves doing four to five exercises in five to eight sets. It’s about doing shorter workouts, but they are more intense,” says Ramona Braganza. One doesn’t really require a gym or equipment. “It was originally designed for professional athletes and is guaranteed to offer results. Such workouts, done two or three times a week for four to six minutes, can achieve massive results,” says Mickey Mehta.

Strength training
The method uses resistance to induce muscular contraction, which in turn builds strength, endurance and the size of skeletal muscles. “It’s a misconception that weight training makes you bulky. In fact, it just adds more muscle to your body, and you do need more muscle and less fat,” says Ramona Braganza. The American Council of Exercise ranks strength training number two in their list of fitness trends for the year. Weight training results in greater muscular strength, which offers better support for joints. Older people who take up weight training can prevent loss of muscle tissue that normally accompanies ageing.