Happy New Year! We all know that this is the month when many of us decide to start a fitness program and you probably won’t be surprised to know that statistically, 80 percent of those who start will have aborted their programs within three weeks.
So instead of talking about how to stick to your New Year’s fitness resolutions, I would like to share with you the recently released results of The American College of Sports Medicine’s fitness trends survey.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the leading entity for research in fitness and sport. For the past four years they have surveyed fitness professionals working in a variety of settings—privately-owned health clubs, non-for-profit health facilities, corporate wellness facilities and a variety of other similar settings—to find out what really appeals to the general population; not fads or gimmicks, but long-term trends. The respondents came from the global community and represent multi-cultural trends, not just American trends in fitness.
By showing you what other people have been enjoying and sticking with for the long haul will hopefully encourage you with your resolutions this year!
#1: Educated and experienced fitness professionals
Most people believe that if someone is a certified personal trainer, he or she is held accountable to some standardized regulatory commission. This is true in the health care industry and others, but unfortunately it hasn’t been the case in the fitness arena.
Until 2007, there were no accredited programs for personal trainers in higher education and there were few agencies offering certifications that were monitored by an independent third party. There was no guarantee that a base level of knowledge was achieved by the individual attempting certification. This meant that anyone could offer a “certification” exam and no one was monitoring the content.
In 2007, several of the leading certification agencies began using the third party accreditation agency called The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The American College of Sports Medicine, The American Council on Exercise and the National Strength and Conditioning Association are among the certification agencies that are currently accredited through the NCCA.
What this means to you, is that more personal trainers and fitness professionals who do not have a higher education degree in an exercise or sport science program, will now actually have demonstrated a base level of knowledge in order to attain their certification.
This is an important trend for anyone who is looking to start a fitness program because trainers who were certified by agencies that are not accredited tend to design programs that are less effective, less enjoyable for the participant and have a higher probability of leading to injury or discomfort, which results in abandonment of the program.
This is an important development, but there are still many trainers and fitness professionals who have not been certified through the accredited agencies. So when looking for a trainer, ask what certification agency they received their credentialing from and go online to make sure that it is accredited. This way you are increasing the chance that the programming you receive will be appealing and effective so that you are still doing it years after you start!
#2: Strength training
In the past, strength training was reserved for body-building men. But with more and more women engaging in it, it has now moved from sixth in 2007, fourth in 2008 and 2009, to second in fitness trends for 2010!
We are living longer, and research has demonstrated that although we lose lean body mass as we age, it can be significantly lessened with a structured, progressive strength training program. In addition, there are extreme psychological advantages for those who engage in such a program. For instance, women who have suffered domestic violence have increased their sense of self-esteem and empowerment as a result.
Strength training is also one of the most potent techniques for minimizing and reversing osteopinia (the beginning phase of osteoporosis) and osteoporosis (decrease of bone density beyond two standard deviation points of a normal 20-year-old). These are both on the increase in women and men today, in a world where we are more sedentary and consuming a diet high in calories, but lower in calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients related to bone density.
Other trends in the top 20
There are several other trends that may be appealing and enjoyable enough for you to stay with throughout the year. Included within the top 20 trends are:
- Personal training
- Core training
- Functional fitness
- Pilates, yoga & boot camp workouts
More people are recognizing that hiring a personal trainer is not a luxury, but actually serves as a necessary element for sticking to a program. The commitment of showing up with regular frequency to a trainer often is the difference between staying with a program and losing it to the other commitments in your life.
Core training involves exercises focused on the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back. These muscles are instrumental in the execution of all everyday activities and are even more important in sports. Use of BOSU balls, wobble boards, foam rollers and other similar equipment is included in core training. The variation in equipment may help people stick with core programs beyond the first of the year.
Functional fitness refers to exercise programs that are designed to improve balance, coordination, body integration, strength and endurance in order to better perform the activities of daily life. An example is performing a one-arm row with a dumbell, while holding your body in a plank or push-up position. The great news is that these exercises also work more than one muscle group at a time, which leads to a more efficient workout. This translates into less time for more results. In our high-paced, over-committed, time-constricted lives, this workout plan may be the answer for many who don’t have the time to devote to working every muscle group in isolation.
Pilates, yoga and boot camp are three systematic workout specialties that are increasingly available in fitness facilities and specialized studios. These workouts engage the mind and body and often lead to other positive lifestyle changes. For instance, many who take yoga classes also adopt eating principles that include less processed foods. People who take boot camp classes tend to move into participating in running races and other organized sports.
The fitness trends of 2010 can provide valuable insight into the types of programs and activities that may lead to choices that last well beyond the New Year! For a full list of The American College of Sports Medicine’s top 20 fitness trends visit www.informz.net/acsm/data/images/fitnesstrends2010.pdf.
Judy Torel is a USAT coach, personal trainer, nutrition consultant and psychotherapist. Her office is located in Planet Fitness, Loudonville. She can be reached at 469.0815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.