In the last twenty years, there has been an incredible explosion of fitness trends in America. We as a population have tried reinventing the wheel in so many different ways it is really astounding. Perhaps it is because if we do not receive a new type of stimulation, the mind and body become complacent and lose motivation? Have you ever tried on a new pair of sunglasses that had a different tint than your old pair? Suddenly you look through these yellow shaded glasses, and the world looks really cool and different. You drop your money on the counter and walk out seeing your world in a whole new light. Within a short while the “new” sensation wears off, and your sunglasses become just your sunglasses. You eventually return to the store and try on a different pair which is rose tinted, and you are amazed how cool and different the world looks now. The world has not changed, just your perception.
It is the same pattern that has emerged in fitness. Do you remember step aerobics? Country line dancing? What about slideboards with the little slippers? Is your Tae Bo video stuck in the VCR? Did you replace the video for wii Fit? What do you think will be said about Zumba in ten years? I find it funny and a bit sad that to keep us moving, to maintain a level of health and wellness, we need to keep changing what we do.
Take a look at yoga in America and you will find an interesting yogic family tree. Where once we just had Hatha style yoga we now have a myriad of others to choose from. Some will take us into walk-in refrigerators while others will keep us in saunas. You can find yoga classes on land, on sand, on tightropes or standing on overgrown surfboards. The list of yoga styles is quite extensive: Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyasa, Lyengar, Svaroopa, Anusara, Jicamukti, Kripalu, Kundalini, and a boatload more.
It is not that I am making fun of the degree in which we go to try and create new stimuli to keep us moving, rather it is my amazement that we actually need to. As a population, we have removed our minds so far from our bodies that the loss of connection requires us to find new ways to make the connection. We are like children who jump from one game to another in the span of one play period. There is nothing wrong with it. The important thing is to keep moving. The body and mind need physical movement as much as rest. A balance between both worlds is what we should be seeking. Whether we look back in the past and revisit old exercise or look into the future for the newest fad, get moving. If that means hopping around an aerobic studio in a kangaroo suit while stomping water balloons and listening to punk music, have at it! Who knows, maybe you will think of the next amazing fitness craze and make millions as it sweeps across the nation?