Top Ten Fitness Trends of 2013

January 2, 2013

So, it turns out that you already have all you need to take part in one of the top fitness trends of 2013. Body weight training, which appeared for the first time on the fitness trends survey, landed in spot number three. People have been using their own body weights for centuries as a form of resistance training, and only now has it become more of a trend in gyms. It’s also an inexpensive way to exercise effectively, as it uses minimal equipment.

This year was the seventh consecutive year that the ACSM administered its Top Fitness Trends survey. There were 3,346 responses from health and fitness professionals from around the world, and approximately 14% of those respondents were aged 55 years and older. There were 37 possible fitness trends to choose from on the survey, and 25 of them were from previous years.

It’s important to understand the difference between a “fad” and a “trend” when understanding this survey. A “trend” has been described as “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving.” A “fad” has been described as “a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time.”

As the baby boom generation is now aging and into retirement, there has consistently been a popular trend for the concern of the health of aging adults. Fitness programscouple exercising for older adults has remained a solid trend for 2013. There has been the assumption that those who are retired have more unrestricted money and have more time to engage in an exercise programs. Health and fitness professionals should be focusing more on developing fitness programs for people of retirement age. The active older adult could participate in more rigorous exercise programs such as strength training and team sports, while the frail elderly can improve their ability to perform activities of daily living when instructed on suitable functional fitness activities.

Strength training has continued to be a strong trend since the very first year of the survey. It remains in the number two position for the second year in a row. This trend is especially important for older adults to participate in, and should be used as a primary form of exercise.  Many health care and fitness professionals recommend strength training for patients with stable diseases. Those recovering from cardiac, pulmonary or metabolic diseases often have weight training included in their recovery program.

Stength--Trainer The number one fitness trend for the past six years is educated, certified and experienced fitness professions. This has created a huge increase in fitness professionals which means that they are now more accessible to more people in all sectors. The BLS estimated that in 2010 there were approximately 251,400 fitness trainers employed, and projects that, by 2020 that number will increase to 311,800, which is a 29% increase in the workforce in just 10 years.

It’s very evident that in a still slow economy, the market for fitness professionals becomes even more congested and competitive, calling for some degree of regulation. Personal training has been the top ten of this survey for seven years, proving that respondents believe personal trainers will continue to the a crucial part of the professional staff of health and fitness centres. This is a big benefit for older adults, as the need for personal trainers who can create specialized fitness programs, and instruct them through it is crucial.

Functional fitness landed in number eight, and continues to be an important aspect of fitness programs for older adults. Functional fitness is commonly used in clinical programs to replicate activities done around the home. It may be defined as using strength training to increase balance coordination, force, power, and endurance to improve ones ability to perform activities of daily living.

As baby boomers are aging and reaching retirement, it’s not unexpected that fitness programs for older adults remains one of the top ten fitness trends for the last seven years. Those who exercise are more likely to manage and prevent chronic diseases than those who don’t exercise. Functional fitness has the ability to support older adults with maintaining their independence, and to help reduce the risk of suffering a fall. It can be done in the home which is a huge benefit to older adults, as they experience considerable obstacles throughout their daily living. It’s encouraging that fitness professionals remains near the top, as they are so important to encouraging a fit society, and to supporting and helping older adults in their fitness programs.



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  • Andrea Schmook

    Thanks for this post! This is really eye opening to find that many seniors can perform at rigorous levels higher than what most people think. I have only been involved in working with a fitness trainer since June 18th and I have found that my performance is getting more rigorous as time goes on. Although I missed being born a boomer by several years, working out at my age is helping me turn around my high blood pressure and pre-diabetes diagnoses. I have a free membership at 24 Hour Fitness Hollywood through Medicare, Silversneakers Fitness Program. It’s nice to see that Medicare has a focus on prevention and, I would add, reversing what is called “age” related or lifestyle illness or diseases.

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