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What fitness trends will attract truckers?

Health and wellness issues among drivers and motor carriers are on the rise. But what type of exercise can deliver best lifestyle benefit?

Health and wellness is becoming a greater concern among truck drivers and motor carriers alike – ranked seventh by drivers and 10th by motor carriers, according to the annual “Top 10” critical issues in trucking list compiled by the American Transportation Research Institute.

“We’re glad it’s back on the ‘top 10’ list because it’s recognition that we need to take care of the most important asset in trucking: the driver,” said Rebecca Brewster, ATRI’s president, during a presentation at the 2017 American Trucking Associations (ATA) annual conference this week in Orlando, FL.

The industry “needs to provide more opportunities for drivers to eat healthy and exercise,” Brewster added. “We need to look at the ROI [return on investment] for such efforts and build a case as to why that is a valuable investment.”

In terms of exercise, however, what fitness trends are becoming popular that truck drivers may be able to use to improve their health?

Right now, according a survey of 4,000 fitness professionals by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), high intensity interval training or “HIIT” is predicted to be the “most popular trend in fitness” for 2018.

The ACSM said HIIT is made up of bursts of all-out exercise followed by short periods of rest for recovery.

 “High intensity interval training has been a consistently high-ranking trend on the forecast in recent years, appearing in the top three since 2014,” explained Walter Thompson – president of ACSM, the lead author of this survey, and associate dean in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

“Even though survey respondents warned of a relatively higher risk of injury associated with HIIT, it continues to be very popular in gyms across the world,” he explained.

Survey respondents shared that some clients are reluctant to participate in HIIT due to perceived risks, and the fitness pros often shared those concerns. So, is HIIT dangerous?

“HIIT offers participants a good workout that can be done without a lot of time or equipment,” Thompson said. “Research shows that with proper precautions, like working with a certified personal trainer, HIIT can be a safe, effective and fun way to exercise.”

Now in its 12th year, survey provides 40 potential trends to choose from, and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM. Group training jumped up four spots to the second spot. Last year’s number one – wearable technology – remained high on the list as the third most popular trend for 2018:

  1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, these exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
  2. Group Training: Group exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals though intentionally designed group exercise classes. Group programs are designed to be motivational and effective for people at different fitness levels with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals in their classes achieve fitness goals.
  3. Wearable Technology: Fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices.
  4. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
  5. Strength Training: Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. Other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.
  6. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals: Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
  7. Yoga: Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
  8. Personal Training: More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
  9. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
  10. Functional Fitness: This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
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