The survey results, published in the latest issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, reveal that educated and experienced fitness professionals claimed the top spot for the fifth consecutive year.
Zumba and outdoor activities both made their debuts in the top 20 this year, with Zumba and other dance workouts ranked ninth and outdoor activities ranked 14th.
Among the losers were outcome measurements and clinical integration and medical fitness which both dropped out of the top 20 this year.
Outcome measurements, a way to quantify progress in clubs and wellness programmes, had a five-year run in the top 20 and ranked 13th in 2011 while Pilates, which first dropped out of the top 20 for 2011, remained off the list again for 2012.
The top ten fitness trends predicted for 2012 are:
1. Educated and experienced fitness professionals. Given the large number of organisations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through accredited programmes.
2. Strength training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete physical activity programme for all physical activity levels and genders.
3. 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 programmes to keep older adults healthy and active.
4. Exercise and weight loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss programme. Health and fitness professionals who provide such programmes are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
5. Children and obesity. With childhood obesity growing at an alarming rate, health and fitness professionals see the epidemic as an opportunity to create programmes 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.
6. Personal training. More and more students are studying physiology, which indicates they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper accreditation for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
7. Core training. Distinct from strength training, core training specifically emphasises conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen – all of which provide needed support for the spine.
8. Group personal training. In challenging economic times, many personal trainers are offering group training options. Training two or three people at once makes economic sense for both the trainer and the clients.
9. Zumba and other dance workouts. A workout that requires energy and enthusiasm, Zumba combines Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training.
10. Functional fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programmes for older adults are closely related.
The full list of top 20 trends is available upon request in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2012.”