The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released its annual fitness trend forecast based on survey responses. The survey results are published in the November/December issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
"It's no surprise to see body weight training claiming the top spot this year," said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, the lead author of the survey. "These kinds of exercises provide the benefit of requiring little to no equipment and are incorporated into many fitness programs that are currently popular."
Now in its ninth year, the survey was completed by more than 3,400 health and fitness professionals worldwide, many certified by ACSM, and was designed to reveal trends in various fitness environments. Thirty-nine potential trends were given as choices, and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM, including a new addition to last year's list, which rose quickly to the top.
The top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2015 are:
1. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get "back to the basics" with fitness.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
3. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals: Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it's important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM. ACSM is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification organizations in the world.
4. Strength Training: Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
5. Personal Training: More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
6. Exercise and Weight Loss: In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
7. Yoga: Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
9. Functional Fitness: This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
10. Group Personal Training: In challenging economic times, many personal trainers are offering more group training options. Training two or three people at a time makes economic sense for the trainer and the clients.