Kittle: Fitness trends around the world

Although North America is responsible for the modern day fitness facility, people have been exercising for centuries.

Below is a sample of what has proven popular of late in other countries for getting fit:

Brazil: Capoeira

Capoeira combines dance, acrobats, music, and martial arts.

It is said to have been invented by African slaves who were practicing martial arts while pretending to dance. Besides being a great cardio workout, Capoeira works all of the muscle groups, toning them while increasing your flexibility.

It improves your reflexes and agility, and teaches you balance, coordination and rhythm.

It is also a workout for the mind, improving concentration and perseverance.

Japan: Radio Taiso

In Japan, there is a series of warm up stretches that are broadcast every morning on the radio.

Students do them in school, companies have their workers do them, and seniors do them in the park.

They are meant to unite people and raise energy levels, while encouraging good health.

China: Walking Backwards

Tourists in China are always surprised when they see people in the park walking backwards.

Walking backwards actually works on your postural muscles, (giving you better posture) and on muscles in your legs that you don’t normally use. It also improves your balance

Ancient rumours have it that walking backwards can reverse your karma, and ward off senile dementia.

India: Yoga

Yoga is an ancient form of physical and mental discipline. Yoga is intended to unite your body with your mind.

There are many different kinds of yoga that focus on different things.

Some are more spiritual, with chanting and visualizing, while others are more physically challenging, achieving mental clarity by kicking your butt.

No matter what kind of yoga you try, all of them increase your flexibility, tone your muscles, and help you to achieve peace of mind.

Middle East: Belly Dancing

Belly dancing emphasizes isolating your muscles, and teaches you how to move them independently.

Core muscles are worked out the best, tightening your abs.

In Eastern philosophy, the pelvic area is the source of strength and a lot of energy in the body gets stored there.

The pelvic movements in belly dancing are said to release this energy.

It has also been said that belly dancing reduces menstrual cramps, and strengthening your pelvic muscles can make childbirth less painful.


According to the International Council on Active Aging, there are many upcoming trends occurring in older adult fitness.

However, probably the most significant one is the acknowledgement of exercise as a disease solution!

Viewing exercise as medicine, as a tool to not only manage but also prevent the health issues older adults face, is becoming a commonplace way to promote regular exercise.

Some of the top fitness trends for the growing population of seniors are:

• Strength training programs and personal training to help maintain strength and prevent falls.

• Bodyweight exercises and programs using back-to-basics exercises like push-ups, planks, and pull-ups, is expected to be one of the top 10 fitness trends of 2014.These exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment and there is no cost for gym membership.

• Core workouts and functional training will remain important as older adults focus on staying functional and independent as long as possible.

• Zumba, a dance fitness program created by a dancer in the 1990s, has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years is expected to hit the pool and become the latest in Aqua fitness.

Let me leave you today with this outlook on the importance of exercise for seniors:

“We do not stop exercising because we grow old—we grow old because we stop exercising.”

—Dr. Kenneth Coope

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