By Kristin Sidorov
Whether you were ready for it or not, 2013 is here and for many of us, a New Year means a clean slate when it comes to health and wellness. Each year we set new goals for ourselves, but those resolutions take shape in different ways than the previous year. For instance, 2012 saw juice cleanse crazes, a shift toward holistic health, and a huge surge in the use of technology to manage and support our health. So what does the year ahead look like?
Experts predict that the future looks bright in 2013-for the most part. From major shifts in how we think about fast food to high-intensity workouts and even more high-tech health programs and apps, we've outlined the Top 5 health and fitness trends to watch in the coming year.
1. The Fitness Professional Takeover
The prevalence of certified fitness pros have been skyrocketing for years, and experts don't see their numbers falling anytime soon. We're all finally starting to realize that if we're going to do something, its worth doing right-and professionals have the tools, experience, and motivational support that we need for success. The industry has changed drastically in the past few years, with a huge rise in affordable small group classes and tons of options both inside and outside of the gym.
2. Health and Fitness Apps Will Be Universal
Statistics show that almost 40 percent of all health apps downloaded are fitness-based, and experts agree that they can be an extremely useful and effective tool. In fact, many predict that doctors may even start recommending them. What's more, "self-monitoring" is making the move toward mainstream. Tons of gadgets and apps out there (like larklife) track your overall behavior and habits-what you eat, your sleep schedule, and your movement-and gives you a big picture analysis of your overall health. Pretty cool, huh?
3. Fast Food and Healthy Flexibility
2012 year saw quite a few shifts in the fast food industry that will no doubt continue to change the way we look at restaurant chains in 2013 and beyond. The passing of the Affordable Care Act took menu labeling national, requiring chains with 20 or more outlets to post calorie content on their menus, providing consumers with information about their nutritional choices and encouraging restaurants to reevaluate their menus and offer lower calorie options. Fast food restaurants are also starting to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon, with mega-chains starting to provide options for gluten-free diets. Are vegan and Paleo next? Only time will tell.
4. High-Intensity Workouts
P90X, CrossFit, Insanity, interval training, and themed runs have just started to pick up a mainstream following, and there are no signs of that stopping in 2013. In part, high-intensity workouts owe their popularity to being quick and efficient. Any high-intensity workout is usually short-the average CrossFit workout is about 20 minutes-and powerful, which is just what our fast-paced, multi-tasking society wants. And while not quite as intense, themed runs usually include obstacle courses that test your limits and satisfies the competitor in all of us. Zombie runs, color runs, and Tough Mudders are everywhere, and it seems that they'll stick around for 2013.
5. Focus on Childhood Obesity
2012 saw a sharp uptick in programs and services aimed toward childhood nutrition and exercise. Acknowledgment that the childhood obesity epidemic is a terrifying problem in the United States has become widespread, and 2013 will likely see continued efforts to combat it with new prevention and wellness campaigns. Experts agree that one of the best ways to fight against obesity is to prevent it, starting from pregnancy. It's likely that new agendas that focus on family health and wellness will be added to the growing number of programs available for school-aged children.
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