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2010 Fitness trends: efficient and cheap

Where is fitness going in 2010? Well, people want to sweat, get it done quickly and not spend a lot of money.

The American Council on Exercise announced fitness trends for 2010 based on an annual survey of personal trainers, group fitness experts and others. The key words are "unique" and "efficient."

"We understand that people are busier than ever and will look for workouts that offer the results they seek while fitting within their already jam-packed schedules," said the council's Cedric Bryant.

So, according to a council news release, look for:

Cost-conscious workouts at fitness clubs and at home: The impact of the economy continues to affect the choices of fitness enthusiasts and health clubs alike.

Group training: Individuals will scale back on personal training sessions to take advantage of small-group training and group class participation.

Time-efficient workouts: Shorter yet higher-intensity workouts will be more appealing to those with busy schedules. That's why boot-camp style workouts will continue to be one of the most popular of these trends in 2010, offering the ability to burn sufficiently large number of calories while simultaneously improving muscular fitness.

Exergaming: Exergames will continue to climb in popularity and be taken to the next level: fitness clubs. By integrating fitness-based video games into their programming, clubs will offer unique exercise sessions for game-lovers and those looking for variety within their workouts.

Boomer-specific programs: Growing numbers of boomers recognize the multitude of benefits that come along with regular exercise participation, from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to maintaining one's functional independence and overall well-being.

Functional training workouts: including popular suspension training tools such as TRX. The portability and time-efficiency of these workouts will appeal to people looking to stay fit at home, the office, the gym or while traveling.

Specialty exercise classes: Specialty classes such as ethnic dance, hooping, pole dancing and Zumba are fueled by the continued success of shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

Fitness training tools: Some popular examples of tracking gadgets include GoWear fit and Fitbit, while online tools such as TrainingPeaks software offer fitness programs and meal plans that people can access 24-7. Mobile applications are even bringing fitness on-the-go through iPhone applications and other downloadable programming.

HOW TO CUT BACK ON SALT

Most salt in American diets comes from food processing rather than the salt shaker. Here are suggestions on how to cut down:

- Read food labels. Salt is about 40 percent sodium, so look for the words soda, as in sodium bicarbonate or baking soda.

- Some drugs contain high amounts of sodium, so read those labels, too.

- Choose fresh, frozen or canned food without added salt.

- Substitute salt with spices containing less sodium.

- Select unsalted nuts, beans and peas.

- Limit salty snacks such as pretzels and chips.

- Select unsalted soups or broths.

- When eating out, ask that your dish be prepared without salt.

- Pay attention to these foods, the most common sources of salt: meat pizza, white bread, processed cheese, hot dogs, spaghetti with sauce, ham, ketchup, cooked rice, white rolls, flour tortilla, salty snacks and whole milk.

HOW TO MAKE DIPS HEALTHIER

Slathering vegetables and fruit in high-fat, high-sodium dips can ruin what would have been a healthy snack. Here are nutritionists' tips on choosing better toppings:

Check the ingredients. If a dip contains yogurt, sour cream, cheese or mayonnaise, those items should be nonfat or low-fat versions.

Embrace salsa. Salsa is made mostly with tomatoes, which are high in an antioxidant that may help fight heart disease and cancer. As for the spice, some people report eating less overall if a meal or snack includes fiery foods.

Buy beans. Dips heavy on beans are high in fiber and usually lower in fat than other options.

Make homemade:

- Hummus. This dip, made of chickpeas, is packed with fiber. But store-bought hummus also can be high in olive oil and tahini (sesame seed paste), both fats that are heart-healthy but calorie-heavy. Whip up your own batch by pureeing canned chickpeas with lemon juice, garlic, cayenne pepper and a little olive oil and tahini. If the paste is too thick, thin it with water instead of oil.

- Guacamole. Avocados are healthy but high in calories, so watch the other ingredients in guacamole. Blend one avocado with a cup of nonfat yogurt and a cup of nonfat cottage cheese, then season to taste with cayenne pepper and ground cumin. You also can add chopped onion and cilantro.

- Spinach dip. Thaw some chopped frozen spinach - one of the most nutritious veggies around - and blend it with nonfat yogurt and cottage cheese (not mayonnaise), scallions and curry powder.

Don't drown your food. See if a dab of dip makes your snack taste good before you dunk the whole thing.

- From wire reports

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