By Paisley Hansen
For good or bad, 2013 was full of new health trends that we read about, saw our friends following and even tried out ourselves. 2013 was all about getting more out of workouts by boosting the intensity, the heat, and the fun factor. Fad diets also came, and for most of them, went. If you’re thinking about which trend to continue to follow in the coming year and which ones to abandon, here’s a synopsis of the best and worst health and fitness trends last year. And as always, make sure you find a local doctor to consult before beginning a new diet or exercise regimen.
1. Pool Workouts
Lap swimming and water aerobics have been popular options for those looking for a low-impact workout that is also cardio intense. Now, other workouts, from zumba to spinning, are also taking advantage of the water. Working out in the water is easier on the joints, but it also adds greater resistance to the workout—making it a better exercise for strengthening muscles and burning calories.
2. Focus on Fun
The fact that people will stick with a workout longer if it is fun isn’t exactly a revolutionary concept, but it seems the fitness world has finally figured out how exactly to make running and jumping fun. With fun runs taking runners through everything from colored powder to mud, people found themselves enjoying running more often, and enjoying it too.
3. Hybrid Yoga
Yogis started incorporating kickboxing, trampolines and hula hoops into their workout routines this year to get a power workout. Adding new exercises to your workout routine is always a good idea, as it keeps your body engaged and ensures that you are working out your full body rather than getting comfortable in the same yoga poses.
1. Whole30 Diet
Basically an even stricter version of the Paleo Diet, the Whole30 Diet is a month-long program that restricts the consumptions of legumes, whole grains, dairy, coffee, alcohol and honey. You might ask “What’s left?” Think of a month where every meal is eaten at a steakhouse minus the fries. The problem with this meat and veggie diet is that it eliminates key nutrients such as fiber and calcium, not to mention the energy that comes from whole grains. This nutrient deficiency makes the diet unsustainable and makes it highly likely that you will eventually regain even more fat than you started with.
Yes, those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance should find alternatives to wheat, but for the rest of us, skipping gluten to lose weight is not the best option. In fact, many gluten-free products actually contain higher fat and sugar contents in order to help the food maintain its shape, since gluten is what holds food together. Remember, just like the label organic doesn’t make a cookie healthy, neither does the label gluten-free.
3. Ultra-Intense Workouts
High-intensity workouts can be very effective, but unfortunately many workout routines took this idea to the extreme by encouraging complete exhaustion. Anytime a workout become so intense that you sacrifice form, you increase the chance of injury, and you are more likely to burn out and give up.
Like any other year, 2013 was filled with good, bad, and ugly workout trends. Fortunately with a little bit of research we can learn from the mistakes of the past and look forward to an even more productive (and safe) 2014.
– Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty, and fashion and is a contributor for Super Simple Wellness. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.