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Respondents to and readers of this survey must make the important distinction between a fad and a trend. It would totally be expected, then, to see the same trends appearing for multiple years in a trends survey. The first survey 1 conducted in for trends was the initial effort to develop a systematic way to predict the future in the health and fitness industry. A second survey 2 followed for the year , and then a third survey followed for 3. This fourth in a series of annual surveys of health and fitness trends in the commercial , clinical , community , and corporate sectors of the industry confirmed several of the trends revealed in previous surveys.

Some of the trends first identified for have moved up and stayed in the top 10 in and , whereas some new trends seem to be emerging for Because this is a survey of trends, and not fads, future surveys will either confirm these new trends or they will fall short of making an impact on the health and fitness industry and drop out of the survey. The ACSM annual worldwide survey of health and fitness trends is sometimes confused with estimating the potential impact of new equipment or some emerging exercise device on the bottom line in for-profit clubs.

These results do not attempt to evaluate equipment, gear, tools, apparatus, or other paraphernalia that may suddenly appear at clubs or during late-night infomercials. The survey has been designed to confirm or to introduce trends not fads that have been sustained by having a proven impact on the industry.

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It is understandable that some of the trends revealed in earlier surveys would appear again and perhaps for several years. It is as important for the health and fitness industry to pay attention to not only those new trends appearing for the first time, but also for those trends that do not appear this year or have been replaced on the list by other trends.

Readers of this survey should consider taking this information and applying it to their own settings that may include commercial health clubs for-profit , community settings not-for-profit , corporate wellness programs, and medical fitness centers clinical programs. The benefit to commercial health clubs is the establishment or justification of new markets resulting in increased and sustainable revenue. Community programs can use the results to continue to justify an investment in their unique market by providing protracted programs serving families and youth.

Corporate programs and medical fitness centers will find these results useful through an increased service to their members and patients. There were 37 possible trends in the survey two more than in The editors represent all four sectors of the health and fitness industry corporate , clinical , community , commercial , as well as members of academia.

Potential trends were first identified, and then short explanations were written to offer the respondent some details without burdening them with too much reading. The survey was designed to be completed in less than 15 minutes. In the end, this proved to be a huge incentive to increase participation in the survey.

As in past ACSM worldwide fitness trends surveys, the 37 items were constructed using a Likert-type scale ranging from a low score of 1 to a high score of 10 i. After each scoring opportunity, space was created for the respondent to add any comments these comments were very helpful in the identification of emerging trends appearing in this year's survey. At the conclusion of the survey, additional space was left for the respondent to add any comments or potential fitness trends left off the list to be considered for future surveys.

The next step was to send the survey electronically to a select list of fitness professionals. Using Survey Monkey www. Of these, were returned for bad addresses or the recipient opted out, leaving 9, possible participants. The first step in the analysis was to collate the responses and then rank-order them from highest to lowest. Only the top 20 are reported here.

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After rank-ordering the responses, we asked internationally recognized experts representing all sectors of the health and fitness field to comment on the findings. Their analysis and comments are included at the conclusion of this report. Table 1 provides the top 10 results of the three previous surveys Interestingly, the same top six trends identified in and appear in the top 6 trends for , just in a different order. Therefore, the survey Table 2 reinforces those findings of and , and even Functional fitness appearing as no.

Educated and experienced fitness professionals once again topped the list. Stability ball which showed remarkable strength as a trend for the past 2 years dropped to no. It is very interesting to note that the issue of children's obesity and specialized programs for older adults continues to show strength in the survey results.

It has become increasingly clear that as the market for fitness professionals becomes even more crowded and more competitive, some degree of regulation either from within the industry or from external sources i. Because of their independence, neither organization is directly influenced by the health and fitness industry. Accreditation for the Personal Fitness Trainer joins academic program accreditation for Exercise Science baccalaureate and Exercise Physiology graduate programs in either applied exercise physiology or clinical exercise physiology.

A new collaboration has started within the fitness industry to address the issue of standardized facility practices. Coordinated by NSF International www. This is a trend for both men and women to incorporate strength training into their exercise routines. Strength training moved from no. For , strength training moved up to the no. It has been once again demonstrated that the central theme of many health clubs remains strength training.

There are still many clients who train exclusively using weights, and there are still those who lift weights for bodybuilding and what has been commonly referred to as body sculpting. However, today, there are many others both men and women whose main focus is on using weight training to simply increase or maintain strength as they age.

Most health and fitness professionals today will incorporate some form of strength training into the exercise routine for both apparently healthy clients and for patients with controlled disease.

It is not uncommon for cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, or metabolic disease management programs to include some form of weight training in the exercise prescription. This is a trend toward more programs addressing the ever-growing problem of childhood obesity and a potential new market for commercial - and community -based organizations. Although slipping slightly to no. The health care industry is already feeling the effect of rising obesity rates as the cost of its care continues to escalate.

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The obese kids of today will become the obese adults of tomorrow. For the first time since these predictions were made, the next generation of young people may not live as long as their parents or grandparents. The health and fitness industry has recognized this problem. All sectors of the health and fitness industry can benefit as will their clients or patients by developing health and fitness programs for children at risk for being overweight or obese.

This trend continues as personal training is recognized as a profession not just for young people starting out, but as a long-term if not lifelong occupation. In , personal training climbed to no. In , personal training fell slightly to no. In recent years, much attention has been paid to the education and certification of personal trainers. In a number of states Massachusetts, Georgia, and several others , legislation has been introduced to license personal trainers. Although there may be some minor variations of personal training e. This is a trend that emphasizes strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back.

Core training seems to have stood the test of time as it again appears at no. Core training typically includes the muscles of the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen - all of which provide much needed support for the spine.

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Exercising the core muscles may enable the client or patient to improve overall stability of the spine and transfer that to the arms and legs, thus enabling the individual to meet the demands of activities of daily living and for the performance of various sports. This is a trend that emphasizes and caters to the older adult. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement and because they may have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts, fitness clubs will capitalize on this growing market. Falling from no. Falling to no. This trend, however, continues to be strong, making the top 10 four years in a row, once again appearing at no.

Health and fitness professionals can take advantage of this growing population of retired individuals by providing age-appropriate exercise programs. The more active older adult can enjoy golf and an inspirational game of pickle ball. The highly active older adult the athletic old can be targeted by commercial and community organizations to participate in more rigorous exercise programs including strength training.

Even the frail elderly can improve his or her ability to perform activities of daily living. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance, coordination, strength, and endurance to improve one's ability to do activities of daily living. Exercise programs reflect actual activities someone might do during the day. Functional fitness first appeared on the survey as no.

It has reappeared in the top 10 for at no. There may be some relationship between functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults because many exercise programs for this age group are composed of these kinds of activities. This is a trend that incorporates sport-specific training especially for young athletes. For example, a high school athlete might join a commercial - or community -based fitness organization to help develop skills during the off-season and to increase strength and endurance.

Breaking into the top 10 for the first time in the survey in no. It has always been a contender in the survey for recognition, but this is only its second time in the top 10, improving one position to no. The combination of possibly attracting a new market to commercial clubs as well as offering a different kind of service could lead to increased revenues.

Pilates is a form of exercise that targets the core of the body i. It also increases flexibility and improves posture. The exercises are typically done lying down on a mat and involve a series of controlled movements of the arms and legs that strengthen the abdominal muscles, hips, and back.

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Pilates also can be done on special Pilates equipment, which may prove to be a secondary source of income for commercial - and community -based organizations. Pilates done on a mat is more popular because the same results can be achieved without investing in equipment, which can be quite expensive. Pilates first appeared in the top 10 on the survey in and has remained strong through although dropping from a consistent no.

This trend expands the personal trainer's role from strictly one-on-one training to small-group training. The personal trainer works with two or more people but in a small group and offers discounts for the group. This is the surprise of the worldwide survey. Group personal training has always hovered around the bottom of the top 20 list until this year.

In , group personal training was no. In , it rose slightly to no.


In these tough economic times when personal income seems to be decreasing, personal trainers need to be creative in the way they package personal training sessions. Training two or three people simultaneously seems to make great economic sense for both the trainer and the client. As the economy improves, it will be interesting to see if this trend continues.