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Hot Exercise Trends

The allure of trying something different -- whether it's the newest social networking website, latest fashion or trendy restaurant -- can inspire exciting thoughts and actions that spice up an otherwise dull routine. The same goes for jazzing up your fitness regimen. Whether you're in a rut or just curious to try something new, trying the latest craze can invigorate a boring or repetitive routine and challenge your body in different ways.

But as in fashion, just because it's trendy doesn't mean it's a good fit for you. Before trying something new, have a chat with your healthcare professional to discuss your current fitness level and any medical conditions you may have that would bar your participation.

Some examples of fitness trends from the past include spinning, Tae Bo and Pilates. Below are a handful of some of today's popular trends. If any sound fun, check in with your doc then check out a class.


Kettlebells essentially look like cannonballs with handles, and they are one of the hottest crazes in fitness right now. Even Katherine Heigl has declared her love for these Russian cast iron weights. One reason for kettlebells' popularity is their efficiency -- with a few relatively simple moves, you'll improve your strength, endurance, agility and cardiovascular system. They're also relatively portable (if you don't mind hauling weights around with you), so you can literally do a kettlebell routine anywhere.

You probably won't find a class devoted to kettlebells. Try videos or arrange a session with a personal trainer to show you the ropes. Don't try them all on your own, or you could run the risk of injury. Also, make sure you're lifting a weight that's appropriate for your strength, and definitely don't try exercises developed for kettlebells with regular dumbbells.


You've probably seen those funky, blue and black things (they look like someone cut an oblong fitness ball in half) and wondered, "What is that?" It's a BOSU balance trainer ("BOSU" stands for "both sides utilized"), and it's used for cardio, strength training and balance exercises. In fact, many classes incorporate all three of these fitness elements by starting with a format similar to step aerobics, then transitioning to strength exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges, and finishing with balance exercises performed on the flat part of the unit.

BOSU training can be physically challenging, but there are exercises appropriate for all fitness levels. Be sure to ask for modifications if you're new to BOSU; and take some time orienting yourself with the equipment every time you use it. All BOSU balance trainers are slightly different, so you want to make sure you've got a steady handle before you jump, spin and move with it.


If you've ever witnessed a Zumba class, you probably won't be surprised to hear that in Spanish, "Zumba" translates to "move fast and have fun." This class incorporates 60 minutes of flamenco, salsa, cha cha, merengue and other Latin dance moves for an intense cardio workout without the pressure of step counts. It was invented in the 90s by Colombian native and pop music choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez, and has recently become one of the fastest growing exercise trends in America.

Because Zumba features plenty of pivoting, proper footwear is essential. Regular sneakers often have too much traction and can cause discomfort in the knees. Instead, look for a shoe with a flat base. And as you would with other exercises, modify the steps to fit your needs. If taking a class, make sure the instructor can demonstrate low-impact options in place of high-intensity moves; or, if buying a DVD, look for an introductory video before investing in the advanced routines.

No matter which trend you decide to try (or even if you decide to forgo the trends and stick to your tried-and-true walking routine), the important things to keep in mind are to participate safely and have fun. The key to maintaining a fitness routine is keeping it interesting while avoiding injury.

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