The Top 10 Health & Fitness Trends of 2010

Dec 21, 2010
Outside Magazine

Photo courtesy of XWRN on Flickr.

People in 1910 would’ve died of embarrassment if they saw some of 2010’s fitness trends. (Try handing a Shake Weight to a centenarian.) Other trends would've made a caveman proud. Presenting the top 10 fitness trends of the year, from the Paleolithic to the futuristic

10. iFitness
A quick search in the Apple store for “work out” returns 157 apps, many of them designed to dictate your workout, keep track of calories burned, and keep you motivated. This is the year of the smartphone as gym buddy. But, as Outside’s Lab Rat asks in a new article, is that really a good thing?

9. Vitamin D
You need extra for bone health! No you don’t! The great vitamin D debate raged this year, with people like Dr. Robert Heaney, a researcher at Nebraska's Creighton University, making lofty claims like: “We won't know the true burden of chronic disease until we eradicate vitamin D deficiency." But a study released in late November proved otherwise. “For most people, taking extra calcium and vitamin D supplements is not indicated,” Dr. Clifford J. Rosen an osteoporosis expert at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, told the New York Times. The debate rages on.

8. Boot Camp
Blame the Biggest Loser, military mystique, and budget consciousness for the steady rise in Boot Camp popularity. At the end of 2009, the American College of Sports Medicine predicted Boot Camp, a group fitness regimen based on military workouts and led by drill-sergeant-like instructors, would be the 16th most popular trend in 2010. Now they predict Boot Camp will be one of the top 10 fitness trends in 2011.

7. The Shake Weight

Perhaps you, like many other Americans, first saw the shake weight while watching television with your extended family, when a harmless show like “Cake Boss” was interrupted by women holding a device that looked like, well, um, er, you couldn’t say—not in front of your conservative in-laws. Thankfully you weren’t the only one whose mind was in the gutter; SNL parodied the arm-toning device in April. But the Shake Weight creators are getting the last laugh: The Shake Weight For Men ad on YouTube has registered almost two million views, and the weight itself raked in $40 million by April, 2010.

Bread- from grongar on Flickr
6. The Gluten-Free Diet

It seems a lot of people with no prior history of gluten intolerance suddenly came down with celiac disease in 2010.  (In all fairness, better screening properly diagnosed thousands of people who didn’t know they had it.) Brought on by a gluten protein found in wheat, the autoimmune disease can wreak havoc on the small intestine, causing diarrhea and fatigue. The answer? Avoid all foods containing gluten. The fad? Less than one percent of Americans have the disease, but sales of gluten-free foods have skyrocketed, leading one gluten-free specialty brand to sell for $22 million in December.

5.  Tone-Up Shoes and Clothes   
If you don’t have the derriere of your dreams, Reebok, Sketchers, and MBT promise you will—if you just wear their shoes. No squats required. The theory is the shoes have unstable soles, so you have to work harder to stay upright and not fall over, engaging your muscles and toning your legs and bum. However a study funded by the American Council on Exercise found that none of the shoes provide any statistically significant boost in muscle exertion or caloric burn. But that hasn’t stopped companies from taking the tone-while-you-do-almost-nothing fad to the next level: clothes that make your muscles work harder, according to manufacturers, debuted in 2010.

4. & 3. P90X and TRX
Body-weight resistance workouts you can do anywhere were huge in 2010, with P90X and TRX leading the craze. P90X is a 90-day, DVD-based workout program that touts “muscle confusion”—constantly challenging the muscles to do different movements—as the way to a better body. TRX is a simple band that you can hang from almost anywhere to intensify a weight workout. For the ultimate muscle burn, savvy exercisers have combined the two, performing many of the P90X moves on a TRX system. Editor Ryan Krogh, in an effort to get buff for the ladies, gave the P90X system a try. What did he think? Read all about it here.

2. Barefoot Running
Believers in barefoot running claim the practice encourages a more natural gait, and reduces injury by building up the muscles in the foot. The craze picked up speed with the 2009 release of Born to Run. For people who want to experience running the way our ancestors did without getting dirty (or dirty looks), Vibram introduced their FiveFinger shoes, a thin sole meant to mimic barefoot running. Toes around the world have never looked better.

1. Paleo Fitness
Similar to barefoot running and the comeback of bodyweight exercises, fitness regimens that imitate what our ancestors were doing when they developed the first stone tools were hot in 2010. Frenchman Erwan LeCorre led the trend with his “MovNat” or move naturally-branded routines.  Climbing trees, running barefoot, picking up logs, throwing rocks—it’s all a part of paleo fitness. And if you feel you’ve lost your natural instincts to do such activities or feel stupid doing them alone, you can pay to have someone tell you and a large group of people what to do. Your Paleolithic ancestors would be proud of your effort. Maybe.

--Erin Beresini

Filed To: Fitness, Nutrition, Gear

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