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Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2011

Pilates is out and experienced fitness professionals are in, according to an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) survey of fitness trends for 2011, published in the Nov/Dec issue of Health & Fitness Journal.

The survey, now in its fifth year, was distributed to ACSM-certified health and fitness professionals worldwide. The survey, which was completed by over 2,200 fitness professionals, is designed to reveal trends in various fitness environments.

Survey respondents ranked thirty-one fitness trends and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM. Dropping out of the top fitness trends for 2011 were balance training, Pilates and stability ball. At the same time, a trend toward fitness programs for older adults gained momentum.

A summary of the top 20 trends is as follows:

Educated and experienced professionals – as the market for fitness professionals becomes more crowded, the need for regulation either inside our outside of the industry is required. A number of states are already considering legislation to regulate personal trainers as it does physicians, layers and pharmacists.

Fitness programs for older adults – as the baby boom generation ages into retirement and has more discretionary money, interest in age appropriate fitness programs will increase.

Strength training – both men and women want to incorporate strength training into their workout routines to increase or maintain strength as they age.

Children and obesity – the problem of childhood obesity continues to be a major health problem. Developing programs to reach this market will impact the health care industry today and health care costs in the future.

Personal training
– a growing number of students are majoring in kinesiology, indicating increased interested in the field of personal training. At the same time, legislation has been introduced in a number of states to license personal trainers.

Core training – emphasizes strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen, upper body and back. Core training enables the individual to meet the demands of activities of daily living and performance of various sports.

Exercise and weight loss – with an increasingly overweight population, the coupling of exercise and weight loss to achieve weight control is becoming more popular.

Boot camp – this military style training includes cardiovascular, strength, endurance and flexibility drills in both indoor and outdoor settings.

Functional fitness – exercises that focus on balance, coordination, force, power and endurance to improve a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

Physician referrals – an emphasis is being placed on health care professionals to make physical activity a standard part of a disease prevention and treatment paradigm. Part of ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine; this program creates partnerships with health care professionals and fitness professionals.

Yoga – regardless of the variety of forms (Power yoga, Bikram, Iyengar, Vinyasa), yoga seems to be making a comeback in this year’s survey.

Comprehensive health promotion programming at the work site – this jumped dramatically in this year’s survey, most likely due to a corporate focus on managing health care costs. These programs and services are designed to improve the health of workers.

Outcome measurements – a trend toward defining and tracking outcomes for clients whether the setting is a club, corporate wellness program, community based program or medical fitness center.

Group personal training – in challenging economic times, renewed interest in group training is not surprising as the cost per person is lowered when several clients participate in training.

Spinning (indoor cycling) – one of the most popular group exercise programs in a commercial setting, spinning continues to be popular.

Sport-specific training – while not as popular as in previous years, sport specific training is designed especially for young athletes.

Worker incentive programs in an attempt to counter rising health care costs, companies are creating incentive programs to stimulate healthy behavior.

Clinical integration/medical fitness as a direct result of health care reform, the blend of prevention and clinical services is showing up for the first time on the list.

Reaching new markets – with an estimated 80 percent of Americans not having a regular exercise program or a place to exercise, health and fitness professionals need to figure out how to reach these inactive individuals.

Wellness coaching – this trend incorporates behavioral change science into health promotion and disease prevention programs.

The Bottom Line

If there ever was an elixir for growing old, then exercise is the answer. Studies have demonstrated that regular exercise significantly improves overall health. Other reasons to exercise:

- Reduces the risk of heart disease by 40%

- Lowers the risk of stroke by 27%

- Reduces the incidence of high blood pressure, by almost 50%

- Reduces the incidence of diabetes by almost 50%

- Can reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by almost 50%

- Can lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60%

- Can reduce the risk of developing of Alzheimer’s disease by one-third

- Can decrease depression as effectively as medications or behavioral therapy

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