Hot health trends for 2013

Coney Island Polar Bear Club's New Year's Day

Coney Island Polar Bear Club's New Year's Day swim may be good for you. (Getty) (Credit: Coney Island Polar Bear Club's New Year's Day swim may be good for you. (Getty))

1. Digitizing health

This year we'll see a meeting of technology and medicine that will make your life easier and safer. From mobile apps that help you find the best gym nearby to an electronic network of medical records, this year managing your health will likely become a lot more efficient.

As an increasing number of private doctors' offices, nursing homes and hospitals begin to digitize their medical records, which is part of a national trend, the New York eHealth Collaborative, with support from the state government, is helping to build a network that will facilitate the secure sharing of medical records.

How will this help you? After giving consent, when a patient goes to the hospital doctors will be able to pull up their medical records through a secure digital network, and will thus deliver more effective treatment.

Close to $1 billion has been invested in the development of information technology, said Anuj Desai, director of Business Development at the New York eHealth Collaborative.

And as these networks grow, mobile applications and web tools are being created to deliver the information to providers and customers. The eHealth Collaborative also recently launched the NY Digital Health Accelerator, an incubator for developing web and data medical applications. Eight companies were awarded $300,000 to come to New York and launch their medical-based tech start-ups.

Mobile apps like FiTMAPPED are also bringing health and technology closer. The app compiles geographic data on gyms and health centers, and through GPS gives the user an easy way to find the best class or fitness opportunity that's closest to them.

2. High Intensity Interval Training

We're New Yorkers, and we're busy. Luckily, a fitness trend that's been picking up steam promises to have us in and out of the gym in 32 minutes.

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is just what it sounds like. Working out for less time at a faster rate has more impact than a more drawn-out exercise session, according to Anita Mirchandani, a nutritionist and registered dietician.

"Less is more. People need to realize you don't have to spend an hour at the gym," said Mirchandani, who is also a co-founder of FiTMAPPED, a fitness directory app and web site.

Building on the CrossFit movement, which is taking high-intensity fitness to the next level, HIIT training alternates periods of short and intense exercise with less-intense periods. The programs are offered at gyms and studios across the city, with more opening or beginning to offer the classes all the time.

3. "Sweat-working"

Tired of boozing it up with clients? Try group exercise instead!

While Spinning and SoulCycle have been popular for some time, and continue to be, the idea of Spinning (or doing yoga, Zumba, etc.) with clients instead of networking over wine or cocktails is new -- and bold.

We don't know about you, but when we work out, it's not always the prettiest sight.

But according to Sarah Siciliano, founder of Sweat-working.com, presenting yourself as energetic, fit and vivacious is in style.

"It's no longer cool in an office to be a hungover person who slumps in at 10 a.m.," said Siciliano, who sweat-works with 20-30 clients a week and sometimes has to turn people away from sessions. "It's way cooler to come in after a Spin class, and have a productive day."

It could be a New York thing. We're always rushing and wanting to do two things at once. But Siciliano says it's also part of the growing national trend of wanting to be healthy in general.

"This is something that is catching on," she said. "A lot of finance people take clients to spinning instead of a steak dinner."

So next time you need to discuss business, try it on a bike instead. Let us know how that goes.

4. Get chilly

You've heard of those people that head down to Coney Island on New Years Day to jump into the freezing ocean, right? Well, it turns out those people may not be so crazy.

Dr. Oz wrote in Oprah Magazine about a Clinical Physiology study that found, "Healthy, habitual winter swimmers who jumped from saunas into frigid water had improved immune function compared with those who don't regularly swim in the cold. Researchers believe that over time, exposure to extreme temperature differences may boost the production of infection-fighting cells."

And while the Coney Island Polar Club isn't taking new members, you can still show up on the first or take it upon yourself to jump into the ocean at any time. Or, if that doesn't excite you, check out these places for a cold soak (and a hot sauna) this winter:

Russian and Turkish Baths, 268 E. 10th St., 212-505-0665

Spa Castle, 131-10 11th Ave, College Point, 718-939-6300

Sadoony USA, 1158 McDonald Ave., Mapleton, 718-951-9000

Mermaid Spa, 3703 Mermaid Ave., Sea Gate, 347-462-2166

5. Workout dance parties

For those of you who'd rather be in the club than at the gym, the trend of new dance-inspired workout classes is likely to turn you on.

It all started with Zumba. The Latin-influenced dance class that has captivated millions has also given rise to reggae dancing classes and the recent Tabura craze (West African dance moves derived from an African military training program). Up next: 90s dancing.

Intended to feel more like a house party than a workout, 2Fly combines signature 90s dance music with the 90s hits that are back in vogue. The Running Man, the Robo-Cop and the Baller Drop are just a few of the moves you'll master in this class. Offered at CRUNCH locations in New York City for the past six months, 2Fly is set to go national in January.

"The inspiration came from the sounds of the 90s, when songs were recognizable with dance moves," said Donny Cyrus, senior vice president of Programming at CRUNCH.

As an added throwback bonus, the instructors refer to themselves and those in the class as "fly girls."

Tags: NEWS , health , ARTICLE , AMNY , HOLD

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