Hottest Fitness Trends

Super-Short Workouts

Photo of tabata class.

Heard of the 7-minute workout? How about Tabata? Both are just a few minutes. The trick is, you work harder than you thought possible, pushing yourself to the max. If you're not in shape now, start with something more moderate. Get a checkup before any new workout if you're a man over 45 or a woman over 55, or if you have health issues.

Sprint Triathlon

Photo of triathletes swimming.

If you've got the guts for a triathlon, but not enough hours to train, try a shorter version. A sprint triathlon is a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride, and 3-mile run. In a triathlon relay, team members work together to complete a regular triathlon.

Ballet Barre Class

Photo of ballet class.

These moves can strengthen your core, arms, and legs. One to try is the plié: Stand with your heels together, toes apart, and then bend your knees. Squeeze your inner thighs and glutes as you slowly go lower, keeping your knees over your toes, and then rise to standing. Studios offer classes, or you can follow a video at home. Some classes also include cardio.

Adventure Races

Photo of muddy obstacle course.

Only the fit and fearless can tackle this obstacle race. You do things like crawl through mud, climb walls, and swim in icy water. Train for at least 8 weeks with sprints, squats, pushups, and weights. Rest between short bursts of exercise.

Sports Leagues for Adults

Adult women playing tennis.

Add some team spirit to your workout by joining a recreation league. You could play tennis, volleyball, soccer, basketball, flag football, or softball, for starters. There are also leagues for games you might have played way back in grade school, like kickball or dodgeball.

Elite Fitness: Muscle Confusion

Photo of one armed push up.

Cross-training programs like P90X and Insanity aim for "muscle confusion." They switch up exercises, add new moves, and often include jump training, also called plyometrics.

Indoor Cycling Class

Photo of spin class.

This trend is here to stay. In some, you can compete against your classmates. Many programs also use upper-body weights. Some places combine cycling with yoga or Pilates.

Zumba: Dance Fitness

Photo of zumba festival.

Zumba wants your workout to party! This high-energy dance fitness class moves to Latin and international beats instead of counting repetitions. It's one of the most popular workouts, and it burns more calories than kickboxing or step aerobics. Zumba Step, a new type of Zumba to pump up the intensity, combines the dance moves of Zumba with a step for toning and strengthening legs and glutes.


Photo of crossfit training.

You can burn about 15 calories per minute with this intense workout. Work to your max with squats, pushups, gymnastic rings, intense runs, and weightlifting. "Hero Workouts" are named in honor of soldiers who died serving the country. Be aware that the bursts of intense exercise can lead to injury. It's important to work on your flexibility and learn to do the moves properly.


Photo of side lunge.

ViPR sounds like a killer workout, but the true goal is strength and fitness for everyday life. You use a heavy rubber tube to lift, push, twist, and work your whole body. ViPR adds moves that boost your workout whether you're just starting or you're a top athlete. Choose the size and weight that fits your needs.


Photo of kettlebell workout.

A vigorous workout with a kettlebell -- a cast iron ball with a handle -- can burn 272 calories on average in just 20 minutes. Swinging the kettlebell works muscles in a way that weight machines and barbells can't. Start with a light kettlebell -- 8 to 15 pounds for women, and 15 to 25 pounds for men. Form is critical to prevent injury, so ask a trainer to show you how to use them properly.

Water Aerobics

Women in a pool doing aerobics.

Working out in water is easy on your joints. The resistance from the water helps make you stronger. You can make this workout as hard as you want, depending on how quickly you do the moves. Plus, being in the water just feels good to many people, so it can help you relax and feel better. If aerobics isn't your thing, you could swim laps or walk in the water for a solo workout.

Boot Camp: Back to Basics

Photo of fitness boot camp.

This is basic training without a drill sergeant sneering and shouting in your face. There's no fancy equipment -- just a series of pushups, squats, kicks, other calisthenics, and aerobic movements. You'll burn about 10 calories a minute, or 600 an hour. The payback: total-body fitness.

Exergaming: Aerobic Play

Photo of exergaming.

Who said playing video games turns you into a couch potato? You can burn as many calories exergaming as working out at the gym -- about 270 calories vigorously dancing, or 216 calories virtual boxing, in a half-hour. Exergaming is one way to get kids moving. And slower-paced activities can help older adults be less sedentary.


Photo of boxercise.

Among exercises, boxing is a knockout -- delivering agility, balance, muscle tone, strength, and cardio benefits. Sparring also improves hand-eye coordination and mental agility. You'll be skipping, shadowboxing, kicking punching bags, and more. Be sure to protect your thumbs and knuckles, and consider wearing shin supports.

Hulas: Whittle While You Work Out

Photo of hula hoop.

If the last time you swung a hula hoop was in fourth grade, it's time to give it another whirl. It's easier to swing the new weighted hula hoops than the flimsy plastic ones. Hooping can burn more calories than step aerobics and raise your heart rate as much as cardio kickboxing. It works your waist and core muscles, and can tone your thighs and biceps.

Apps for Exercise

Photo of smartphone fitness app.

Fitness trackers such as the Fitbit and GoWear Fit measure your steps, calories burned, and calories eaten. They can even monitor your sleep. The information can be uploaded and tracked on your computer. There are also apps that show you exactly what to do in your workout and explain good form, so you do it right.

Finding a Good Trainer

Photo of exercise trainer.

A trainer can help you get more out of your workout. Choose a trainer with experience in the type of workout you want to try. Look for someone who is certified by an accreditation program, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.



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  • ABC Health and Wellbeing: "Boxercise."
  • Anders, M. ACE FitnessMatters, July/August 2008.
  • American Council on Exercise.
  • Everwell: "How to Find a Personal Trainer."
  • Beil, L. Men’s Health, Oct. 11, 2012.
  • CDC: "Physical Activity and Health," "Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise."
  • National Council on Strength & Fitness: "Suspension Training Overview."
  • Considine, A. The New York Times, Aug. 15, 2012.
  • Burns, N. The New York Times, Feb. 1, 2007.
  • Noah, J. Journal of Exercise Physiology, August 2011.
  • Miami Herald: "Flywheel puts technology and a competitive edge into indoor cycling." July 16, 2012.
  • Sifferlin, A. Time Magazine, Aug. 7, 2012.
  • Sharick, C. Time Magazine, Sept. 25, 2009.
  • Vladimir Bellevue, trainer, Gravity Fitness.
  • "Tools for the Trainer -- Core-Tex and ViPR."
  • Well+Good NYC: "An Unexpectedly Edgy Workout Based on Cheerleading Comes to New York City."
  • City of Colorado Springs: "Adult Sports."
  • City of Alexandria, VA: "Adult Sports & Activities."
WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information