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The Best and Worst Health and Fitness Trends of 2010

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: Digital Fitness Games
Thanks to Xbox 360 with Kinect, you no longer have to worry about accidentally throwing a controller during a wild game of tennis or standing on a Wii balance board while doing lunges. The Kinect motion sensor detects your body movement during play, allowing for a controller-free game.

The Benefits: Video games are fun and can even be challenging (these 10 new games are our favorites)—especially if your whole family gets competitive.

Should You Try It? "If you have the cash, I would spend it on these products. Or, you can pick up a real soccer ball and take the kids outside and play in reality," says Alison Foster, an ACE certified personal trainer working at Equinox in NYC.

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: Mash-Up Classes
Bored with indoor cycling or lost interest in Pilates? Try Piloxing or Soul-Cycle Bands. Fitness centers started offering some of the most unique class combinations ever in 2010.

The Benefits: Mashing up traditional workouts such as boxing and Pilates guarantees you'll never complain about workout boredom again. These combos also challenge your muscles in ways you never thought were possible, helping you avoid plateaus.

Should You Try It? "These mash-ups are fun and make for a more well-rounded exercise session than each would on its own. If you're interested in getting good at a specific discipline, stick with taking that class on it s own," says Nerijus Bagdonas, an ACSM certified personal trainer and owner of Nerijus Fitness.

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: Insanity Workout and P90x Workout
The Insanity Workout and the P90x Workout offer a diverse library of fitness DVDs to get you in amazing shape at home. With P90x, you get 12 tough workouts that are rotated throughout a 90-day program. The Insanity workout consists of 10 different routines that are rotated throughout a 60-day program.

The Benefits: These high-intensity workouts are guaranteed to kick your booty. You're likely to learn new moves, improve endurance and lose weight if you complete them . Bonus: You don't need much equipment, so they're perfect to do while traveling or at home. (Still not convinced? Read this!)

The Drawbacks: Since P90x and Insanity are very high-intensity workout programs, they're not recommended for beginners.

Should You Try It? Foster says, "If you don't have a gym membership but you currently work out at home and are looking for a new challenge, this workout is for you."

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: Zumba Classes
Zumba classes combine Latin dance moves with more traditional exercises in a dance party atmosphere. According to Zumba, more than 10 million people take these dance classes each week (what are the chances that that many people are wrong about how fun it is?).

The Benefits: This workout raises heart rates and moods: Advocates say Zumba class is more like a party than a workout class.

The Drawbacks: If you have two left feet, you may struggle to stay in step long enough to work up a sweat.

Should You Try It? "Sure—if you like to shake your moneymaker. Zumba is offered almost everywhere there's a flat surface and a boom box," says Foster. (See what more fitness experts say about the benefits of Zumba.)

 

 

 

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: Pole Dancing and Burlesque Dance
Nothing is sexier than feeling strong and confident. That's why women are flocking to these dance classes—to learn dance moves, build strength and get an intense cardio workout. (Check out this bonus sexy workout that tones your entire body.)

The Benefits: These sexy classes boost your self-confidence and teach you to appreciate your body while increasing your overall fitness level. Pole dancing also strengthens your core and your upper body.

The Drawbacks: You won't get a total-body workout, but pole dancing and burlesque dance classes are a nice complement to a well-rounded workout schedule.

Should You Try It? "Yes! At the end of class you'll feel like a rock star and learn some sexy tricks for outside the classroom," says Foster.

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: Fitness Apps for Smart Phones
Don't want to spend $300 on a GPS to track the distance and speed of your run? You don't have to! There's a smart phone app that does it for a fraction of the cost. From tracking calories to timing your meditation session, there's a smart phone app ready to help you meet your fitness goals no matter where you are.

The Benefits: Easy-to-use and inexpensive apps make your workouts more mobile. Plus, if you have a fitness app on your phone, it's a constant reminder of your fitness goals. (Go mobile with these SHAPE fitness apps.)

Should You Try It? "If you have a smart phone, it is a great investment to never have a reason not to exercise," says Foster.
 

 

 

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: Barefoot Running
People everywhere are trading in their pillowy running shoes for   "gorilla shoes," thanks in large part to the best-selling book Born To Run. Supporters of barefoot running argue that modern running shoes cause people to use unnatural form, and therefore cause injuries.

The Benefits: Running barefoot can strengthen tiny muscles in your feet, ankles and legs that running in ordinary shoes can't, which may decrease running-related injuries.

The Drawbacks: Many people switch to barefoot running too abruptly, and they end up injured. "People don't realize it's a difficult transition from spending 30+ years walking around in soled shoes to running barefoot. It needs to be a slow transition," says ACE certified personal trainer Joshua Margolis of Mind Over Matter Health and Fitness. (Learn more about the science behind barefoot running here.)

Should You Try It? Only if you're willing to transition to barefoot running over time and work on changing your running form, not just your running shoes.

 

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: CrossFit Workouts
CrossFit workouts combine athletic movements into effective 20-minute routines. Devotees are assigned a WOD (workout of the day) by logging in to the CrossFit website or going to a CrossFit gym, where they use equipment like Olympic rings, climbing ropes, kettlebells and medicine balls.

The Benefits: CrossFit is a great way to complete a high-intensity full-body workout when you're short on time. The specific WOD solves the problem of not knowing what to do at the gym.

The Drawbacks: The WOD is the same for everyone.

Should You Try It? " I believe in adjusting a workout to meet a person's needs, not making every person adjust to the same workout. Some of the workouts are good, but I would not recommend it as a whole," says Bagdonas.

 

Health and Fitness Trend of 2010: The Shake Weight
The Shake Weight wins the award for the most talked (and laughed) about fitness trend of 2010. The Shake Weight claims to "increase muscle activity by more than 300 percent when compared to traditional weights." But like many other "as seen on TV" products, we suggest doing your research before you buy.

The Benefits: It's perfect to bring as a "white elephant" gift to a party.

The Drawbacks: You can't spot train your arms—or any other body part for that matter!

Should You Try It? "Buy a real set of dumbbells and pump some iron," Foster says. New to strength training? Here's everything you need to know to start lifting weights.