For the past eight years the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has conducted a survey to predict health and fitness trends globally. In this year’s survey, 39 potential fitness trends were presented to 28,426 fitness professionals, with the survey also posted on ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal website, Facebook and Twitter page.
A total of 3403 responses were received. Survey participants were asked to rank the activities from 1 (least likely to be a trend) to 10 (most likely to be a trend). In addition they were also asked to indicate whether they believed the activity was a trend or a fad. Space was also provided for respondents to suggest trends they thought should be included in the list.
While many of the same fitness activities held their place in the top 20 trends, a new contender, body weight training, took out the number one position. This was only the second year that body weight training had appeared in the top 20, having been identified as the third biggest trend in 2013. In 2014, the number one position was held by high-intensity interval training, which this year dropped to second place on the list. Also appearing for the first time in the top 20 in 2013, circuit training climbed steadily to position 14 in 2015. We note with interest that all of these activities have been a core component of the industry’s service delivery since (what feels like) the dawn of time. Perhaps they are staples moreso than trends?
What is particularly important to highlight is the maintained position of Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals in the top 20. Identified as the third biggest trend in 2015, this service held the number one position from 2008 to 2014. These results support the vision and aims of Fitness Australia, which is to encourage the industry to constantly strive to improve the quality of their service offerings. It’s clear that the delivery of safe, quality services by educated and appropriately qualified exercise professionals is held in high regard internationally.
Fitness activities that dropped off the top 20 list were Zumba, pilates, indoor cycling, stability ball and balance training. Leader of the study, Walter Thompson, who is an Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Education at Georgia State University, a regents’ professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health and in the Department of Nutrition, and ACSM Vice President, believes the drop in the popularity of these activities could be attributed to the performance of the economy. “Some of the survey respondents still argue that the persistent sluggish economy has influenced the results of this survey and that training programs requiring expensive equipment or technical instruction are not supported because of the increased cost. Still others argue that Zumba, indoor cycling, and Pilates have run their useful course.”
Other interesting results include the rising popularity of yoga, which while in the top 10 in 2008 dropped out of the top 20 in 2009. The introduction of a range of different styles of yoga, including yogalates, power yoga and Bikram yoga are most likely behind yoga’s climb to seventh position this year.
When discussing the significance of the results, Thompson explained that the results can and should be used by exercise professionals and fitness business owners to make important investment decisions for future growth and development. “Important business decisions should be based on emerging trends embraced by health fitness professionals and not the latest exercise innovation marketed during late-night television or the next hottest celebrity endorsing a product,” he says.
1. Body weight training
2. High-intensity interval training
3. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals
4. Strength training
5. Personal training
6. Exercise and weight loss
8. Fitness programs for older adults
9. Functional fitness
10. Group personal training
11. Worksite health promotion
12. Outdoor activities
13. Wellness coaching
14. Circuit training
15. Core training
16. Sport-specific training
17. Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity
18. Outcome measurements
19. Worker incentive programs
20. Boot camp
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