By FIONA BRAMZELL
Well, it looks like we’ve made it through another winter and, if you’re like the majority of Canadians, you count spring as one of your favourite seasons. And what’s not to love about it? It’s the perfect time to make some lifestyle changes and maybe even embrace one of the latest new health trends that we’re always hearing about. Not sure where to start? Here are just a few of the ‘next big things’ in fitness and exercise.
We all know walking is one of the best exercises around and it’s an activity that most of us can enjoy. However, many people are taking backpacking to a whole new level with ‘Fitpacking’. More than just a hike, these trips, that can last from a few days up to two weeks, are specifically designed for the individual’s fitness goals and, as such, vary in terms of route and weight of backpack.
While paying big money for this kind of organized activity may be a good motivator, there’s nothing to stop you, however, from lacing up your hiking boots, strapping on a heavy backpack and hitting the trails with a couple of buddies.
You may have heard the term ‘functional fitness’ a lot recently, but what does it actually mean? While many people describe it as a way of training the body for ‘real life’ movement, Brad Cote, owner of Link Integrated Health (https://www.linkintegratedhealth.com/) on Main Street explains, ‘Functional fitness is a term that has been tossed around but never fully understood.
A functional exercise means properly executing a movement by using the intended muscles effectively and efficiently.’ In doing so, it allows us to perform everyday movements such as lifting, bending and reaching with more ease and less risk of injury, which is always a good thing!
While this type of fitness regime can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels, it is particularly popular among older adults who want to maintain their active lifestyle and enjoy a full range of pain-free motion as they age.
With this fitness trend, not having the time or money to join a gym will no longer be a valid excuse not to work out! While the most obvious advantage of bodyweight exercise is the time/ cost factor, there are many other good reasons to embrace this movement – you can do the exercises anywhere, they can be easily customized to suit your fitness goals and the quick transition from one movement to another keeps the heart rate up and the blood pumping.
However, even though you don’t need to learn how to use gym equipment, you may still need some guidance from a trainer to avoid injury and to really get the most out of your workout. Good form matters, people!
Yes, goat yoga. Or puppy yoga, or kitten yoga. The point is, yoga with animals in the mix is huge right now. Why? Well, apart from the fact that we’re all suckers for cute critters, adding animals to a yoga class has proven benefits in lowering blood pressure and reducing stress and anxiety.
The fact that the classes are usually held outdoors in a beautiful, rustic setting is a bonus of course but, more importantly, many participants report feeling less intimated and more comfortable when surrounded by animals. While performing yoga on horseback should probably be left to the professionals, yoga with animals is something that everyone should experience at least once!