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5 Most Popular Articles in 2021

IDEA recaps our most popular articles from 2021.

IDEA's popular articles in 2021

2021 was a medley of wins and challenges—for the world and the fitness industry—as we drudged through another year of the pandemic and found our footing again. Of course, IDEA remained committed to forging ahead and supporting you through it. Our publications continued to bring you popular articles and top-quality research on health, fitness, nutrition and business.

With a year’s worth of new content behind us and much more ahead, we are now asking: what piqued reader interest this past year? Our article trends may shed some light on what fitness professionals are focused on, what to expect from the future and which articles you may also want to revisit. Let’s recap our 5 most popular articles that received the most reads in 2021!

1. Functional Training for Active Aging

Trainer helping a woman with functional training

This Fitness Handout guide from our August newsletter explores exercises that enhance fitness as you grow older. In it Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA, internationally acknowledged integrative health advocate and mindful living educator, 30-year fitness industry veteran, and best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books, offers an overview of some popular functional training methods.

2. Inflammation: Obesity, Diabetes, Aging and Exercise

Causes of inflammation

Inflammation is a known defense system in living organisms that was evolved to enhance survival. But do you know the causes? This informative research article by Len Kravitz, PhD, Gabriella Bellissimo, MA, and Jessica Smith, MS, CSCS, explores some common causes of chronic and acute inflammation—from diabetes to aging—and the science behind it.

It also details why physical activity is an effective protector and treatment for it, even including a simple training program that helps fight inflammation.

3. Weight Training for Women Over 40

Woman weight training

Once again, our Fitness Handouts reign supreme, delivering simple, shareable tips for clients. This handout briefly covers some common changes expected for women over 40, which can be a normal part of the aging process. More importantly, it provides pointers for using a resistance training program that can change body composition by reducing fat, maintaining and building muscle, and increasing strength.

4. HIIT Research That Unravels Controversies

HIIT research showing man using jump rope

Does high-intensity interval training (HIIT) affect metabolic health? Is doing HIIT only effective? Is it safe for people with cardiovascular disease? If you’re still unsure about the answers to these questions, this research article by Len Kravitz, PhD, can help.

It takes an evidence-based approach by reviewing HIIT research and bringing clarity to current controversies around HIIT’s efficacy and safety.

5. Sample Class: Cardio, Core and Balance

People taking part in a cardio core and balance class

Our readers love program design and this sample class from Melissa Weigelt, MS, seems to be a winner. Made for students who want a bit of a challenge, this class provides a way to add unique bonus exercises to keep people interested, engaged and motivated.

The cardio-core-balance combination incorporates lower-intensity unilateral balance and core moves in between cardio intervals. The program will provide better body awareness for daily tasks and help students improve their performance.


Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Sarah Kolvas

Sarah Kolvas is the associate editor for Fitness Journal.

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