A New Year means New Year’s resolutions, and the most popular resolutions usually address our health. Some of 2012’s important messages dealt with the effects of fitness on our quality of life – both the good and maybe not so good. We learned that exercise, in any amount, can increase our brainpower and help teens quit smoking. We also learned that high levels of exercise might affect the onset of menopause.
In line with 2011’s fitness news, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released its annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2012. Are you ready to see where your fitness resolutions fall?
The top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends anticipated in 2012 are:
Educated, Certified, and Experienced Fitness Professionals – First for five years, experienced professionals reflect how highly we value knowledge when it comes to fitness goals.
Strength Training – Not just for weightlifters anymore, strength training is part of a comprehensive exercise routine for everyone.
Fitness Programs for Older Adults – In the top 10 each year, the growing retirement-age population means more age-appropriate exercise programs.
Exercise and Weight Loss – Exercise is essential for maintaining weight loss, and incorporating exercise in weight loss programs is moving up the list.
Children and Obesity – With growing youth obesity rates and less physical activity at school, there is an increasing need for youth-specific health programs.
Personal Training – In the top five for the past five years, educated/certified personal trainers are here to stay.
Core Training – Strengthening the hip, lower back, and abdomen muscles (the “core”) to better support the spine, thorax, and improve overall stability has proven itself to be more than just a fad.
Group Personal Training – For those who want personal attention without the premium price tag, it makes “good economic sense” for both trainer and client.
ZUMBA/Other Dance Workouts – A fun and novel alternative workout, ZUMBA combines dance moves with interval-type exercise and resistance training.
Functional Fitness – Using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power and endurance, it mimics daily activities to help with daily life.
Yoga – In all its forms (Power, Bikram, etc.), yoga remains a top 20 trend.
Comprehensive Health Promotion Programming at the Worksite – Healthier workers means better productivity and decreased healthcare costs, so worksite health programs make sense for companies.
Boot Camp – High-intensity militaristic workouts that include cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills have dipped in popularity.
Outdoor Activities – Fitness professionals are offering outdoor activities to clients in an effort to stave off boredom and engage others.
Reaching New Markets – With an estimated 80% of Americans not having a regular exercise program, reaching this widespread demographic is a priority.
Spinning – Still very popular, it mimics high-intensity outdoor pedaling in a comfortable indoor environment, with upbeat music providing motivation.
Sport-Specific Training – Designed especially for young athletes to increase strength and endurance during the off-season, it’s fallen down the list since 2010.
Worker Incentive Programs – Companies are continuing to offer incentives to employees engaging in healthy behavior to help manage rising healthcare costs.
Wellness Coaching – Personal trainers and healthcare providers are incorporating behavioral change science to promote health and disease prevention programs.
Physician Referrals – Health care professionals are continuing to partner with health fitness professionals to make physical activity a standard part of disease prevention and treatment. ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine initiative continues to work toward that goal.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of what’s trending and what’s not, remember – staying active is essential for wellness. After all, who doesn’t want to be healthy this year?
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.