Here are a few trends to watch out for and also a few hints to get you started on your New Year's healthier you program.
Body weight work
Trend: According to the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) worldwide survey, one fitness trend will be body weight training, which includes “back-to-basics” exercises like push-ups, planks, pull-ups, squats and other exercises that use the body as resistance.
Why it matters: It reduces injuries because you're using only your own body weight, not heavy weights, and you don't have to go to a fitness center — you can do most exercises at home.
Fit tip: Check out the following to get started:
•Body squat: www.acefitness.org/exercise-library-details/0/135/
Exercise as you age
Trend: The ACSM also believes that another trend will be an increase in functional fitness for older adults.
Why it matters: There is significant research to show that engaging in strength and functional training activities can strengthen bones, reduce joint pain and reduce injuries from slips and falls.
Fit tip: If you can afford it (or if you want to give a gift to a relative), hire a qualified certified personal trainer. Make sure to find one who has lots of experience with older adults, has insurance and is certified by ACSM or the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Eating more healthfully while eating out
Trend: According to the National Restaurant Association, more than seven out of 10 consumers say they are trying to eat better at restaurants now than they did two years ago. Additionally, three-quarters of consumers say healthy menu options are an important factor when choosing a restaurant.
Other findings reported by the NRA's survey are an increasing interest in children's nutrition (including whole-grain foods) and in local sourcing, which also includes “hyper-local” sourcing, such as restaurant gardens.
Why it matters: Many Americans eat out a lot — nearly half the time, in fact. And most high-calorie foods are consumed when eating away from the home. It's also wonderful to know that restaurants are catching on and will be delivering healthier, fresher foods. I love the idea of a restaurant having its own garden.
•Say no to mayo, tartar sauce, creamy dressings and extra cheese.
•Use mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper or vinegar as fat-free ways to season your food.
•In salads, watch the nuts, croutons and other add-ons.
•Look for foods that are grilled or broiled, not breaded or deep-fried.
•Instead of cheese (100 calories per 1-ounce slice), opt for lettuce, tomato and onion.
Trend: According to food consultants Baum and Whiteman, people are eating less during mealtime and making up for it by snacking more. “Snacks account for one in five 'eating occasions' … (and) multiple snacks now qualify as America's 'fourth meal.'”
Why it matters: Research shows that snacking can actually help you eat less at meals. However, we tend to eat unhealthy, high-calorie snacks, such as candy, fries and cakes.
Fit tip: Avoid high-carb snacks because they will be digested in about two hours. Instead, it's better to have a mini-meal (e.g., half a sandwich). Also, keep in mind that eating protein and fat together increases the likelihood that you will be satisfied for a longer duration. Come up with five different snacks you enjoy that are low in calories, and keep them readily available. You should create snacks that are about 100 to 200 calories, depending on your daily calorie needs.
Trend: Technomic, a food-service research firm, predicts an increase in veggie eating. “As more diners discover the joys of occasional meatless meals, the flirtation with vegetarian fare evolves into flexitarian fascination with actual vegetables. That means not only innovative salads but also creative presentations of roasted or steamed veggies, even the assertive ones like carrots, kale or Brussels sprouts.”
Why it matters: Veggies matter! They're loaded with antioxidants and are very high in nutrients and low in calories.
Not just wheat
Trend: Look for an increase in “other” grains such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, wild rice, corn, oats and buckwheat, that do not contain gluten and are, therefore, being nudged to the fore as part of the movement toward gluten-free eating.
Why it matters: There is more than just wheat out there to eat, and many people claim to be allergic to gluten. There are alternatives for instance: Quinoa technically is not a grain but it is high in nutrients and protein.
Calories on the menu
Trend: Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on their menus and menu boards. Look for this information to be available at your local chain restaurant this year.
Why it matters: It's not all about calories, but calories are important for overall weight control.
Fit tip: When you see this information on menu boards, use it. Realize that a typical person needs roughly 2,000 calories per day. To get a more accurate read on your personal calorie requirement, see www.goo.gl/cKKMg.
Trend: This is a fast-growing category that works on many different levels, including phone applications, health data gathering tools and telemedicine.
Why it matters: An increase in digital health tools means more control of our health.