Survey Predicts Top 10 Fitness Trends
year’s attention to nationwide health care reform has
cemented the health and fitness industry’s emphasis on the
need for proper accreditation and certification, according to an
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) survey of fitness trends
published in the ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. The
growing demand for educated and experienced fitness professionals
claimed the top spot in the survey for the fourth consecutive year.
"As the market in this sluggish economy
becomes even more crowded and competitive, the need for regulation,
either from within the industry or from external sources, is growing,"
said the lead author of the survey, Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM.
"For example, a number of states and the District of Columbia are
considering legislation to regulate personal trainers just as it does
physicians, lawyers and pharmacists." Thompson, an exercise
physiologist at Georgia State University and a Fellow of ACSM, is also
spokesperson for the ACSM American Fitness Index.
The survey, now in its fifth year, was
distributed to ACSM-certified health and fitness professionals
worldwide and was designed to reveal trends in various fitness
environments. Respondents around the world returned more than 2,200
completed surveys. Thirty-one potential trends were given as choices,
and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM.
The most surprising findings, experts say,
are the trends that have fallen off the list for 2011
–balance training, stability balls and Pilates. Pilates
suffered the worst fall, disappearing after a ninth place ranking in
"It appears from this survey that Pilates
may not have been a trend at all but may be considered a fad in the
health and fitness industry," said Thompson. "Next year’s
survey will either embrace Pilates as a trend or will answer this
New trends to the list include worker
incentive programs, clinical integration and reaching new markets.
These additions directly reflect some of the work ACSM is doing to
globalize the Exercise is Medicine® initiative.
"Interest in medical fitness, worker
incentive programs, and worksite wellness programs may be a direct
result of health care reform measures and Exercise is Medicine," said
Thompson. "With an estimated 80 percent of Americans not having a
regular exercise program or a place to exercise, health and fitness
professionals must search for news ways to deliver their services to
people who need them."
The top ten fitness trends predicted for
Educated and experienced fitness professionals. Due to
increases in the number oforganizations offering health and fitness
certifications, it’s important that consumers choose
professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the
National Commission for Certifying Agencies, such as those offered by
Fitness programs for older adults. As the baby boom
generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more
discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many
health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create
age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and
Strength training. Strength training remains a central
emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an
essential part of a complete physical activity program for all physical
activity levels and genders.
Children and obesity. With childhood obesity growing at an
alarming rate, health and fitness professionals see the epidemic as an
opportunity to create programs tailored to overweight and obese
children. Solving the problem of childhood obesity will have an impact
on the health care industry today and for years to come.
Personal training. More and more students are majoring in
kinesiology, which indicates that students are preparing themselves for
careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education,
training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become
increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ
Core training. Distinct from strength training, core
training specifically emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body
muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen
–all of which provide needed support for the spine.
Exercise and weight loss. In addition to nutrition,
exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and
fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly
incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better
weight control in their clients.
Boot camp. Boot camp is a high-intensity structured
activity program modeled after military style training and led by an
instructor. Boot camp incorporates cardiovascular, strength, endurance
and flexibility drills in both indoor and outdoor settings.
Functional fitness. This is a trend toward using strength
training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional
fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely
Physician referrals. Physician referrals, a key component
of the Exercise is Medicine initiative, partner medical professionals
with heath and fitness professionals to seamlessly integrate exercise
into their patients’ lives.
For more information on American College of Sports Medicine, visit www.acsm.org