Strength training, group training and childhood obesity programs are the hot trends for the new year.
How might you be working out in 2012? Will it be under the guidance of a personal trainer? Will you be doing strength training? Alone or with a group?
The American College of Sports Medicine recently published an article that makes looking into the future a little easier.
In “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2012,” (published in the November/December issue of American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal) Walter R. Thompson, professor of exercise science at Georgia State University, outlines the 20 most popular trends in the fitness industry for 2012.
Based on the predictions of more than 2,600 fitness industry professionals, the top-20 list reveals a wealth of information about what forms of exercise people enjoy, what types of programs work, and what fitness professionals consider important for individuals and communities.
Knowledge is power
In the No. 1 spot for the last five years: educated and experienced fitness professionals who take the guesswork out of exercise. The growing need for accredited educational programs in the fitness industry, Thompson writes, is a good indicator that there is a growing need for professionals in the fitness industry. Consumers should look for professionals who are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
The second-most popular trend: strength training. It is an especially important activity for women, says Cindy Kropid, exercise coordinator at the Springfield, Ill., YMCA.
“It’s very important because most women … need weights. Women have a tendency to do cardiovascular work, but they need weights to combat osteoporosis,” Kropid said.
Strength training is being incorporated in comprehensive exercise programs by most health and fitness professionals, Thompson wrote in his article, and in rehabilitative and disease-control programs.
Fighting childhood obesity
Strength training is also used in programs that address childhood obesity, he said in a recent interview. With children and obesity taking the No. 5 spot on the list of trends, it’s apparently a concern for families and fitness professionals.
“In this country, the obesity rate is increasing. Forty percent of our kids in the Atlanta area are obese … and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that our kids will not live as long as us — primarily because of this obesity problem,” he said.
Thompson said there are many causes. The biggest has to do with a lack of physical activity. Fewer and shorter school recess periods, more use of video games and low-quality food are the main culprits.
Kropid says that YMCA has programs in place to get kids moving. With classes marketed toward kids (Double Dutch, Punk Rope, Zumba and more), parents can give kids the opportunity to get moving. There are even classes designed for families to exercise together, she says.
Kropid also says Zumba, at No. 9 on the list, is popular for all ages this year. She says people like Zumba — which combines Latin rhythms and dance moves with interval-type exercise and resistance training — because it’s a fun way to work out.
Spinning (No. 16) is extremely popular now, along with some of the newer body conditioning classes. These classes offer a high-intensity workout and involve exercise for cardiovascular, strength, endurance and flexibility training (also called boot camp-style classes — coming in at No. 13).
Trends such as Zumba, spinning and yoga come and go, Thompson said, but one trend — group personal training (No. 8) — might be here to stay.
Group personal training allows groups of two to four people to receive personalized training within a smaller group setting at a discounted price. It’s also a way for friends, co-workers or relatives to spend quality time together while engaging in a positive activity.
The top 10
Fitness trends for 2012, according to “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2012” by Walter Thompson
1. Hiring educated and experienced fitness professionals.
2. Strength training. Benefits include improving overall strength and bone density.
3. Age-appropriate fitness programs for older adults. Look for programs designed for senior citizens.
4. Comprehensive programs that combine exercise and nutrition.
5. Programs that fight childhood obesity.
6. Hiring educated and credentialed personal trainers to make the most of your time, money and efforts.
7. Core training — middle-body muscle strength that supports the spine and trains the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony.
8. Group personal training — personal trainers who work with two to four people at a time.
9. Zumba and other dance workouts.
10. Functional fitness — emphasizing strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Think of exercises like bent-over rows, which help with activities such as picking up and carrying luggage.
The American College of Sports Medicine has more than 45,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals. They work to advance and integrate scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.