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Archive for October 6th, 2010

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The American College of Sports Medicine tracks trends for the fitness industry and published their findings to show you what to expect in fitness in the coming year at the gym, in your doctor’s office and at work. Experienced fitness professionals topped the list while strength training, core work, special fitness programs for older adults, pilates and balance training also made the top ten. Dr. Walter Thompson, of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) which conducted the poll, said that 1,540 ACSM-certified fitness professionals from all around the world took part in the online survey.

“We really wanted to look at trends,” Thompson, a professor of Exercise Science at Georgia State University, explained. “We instructed the respondents to ignore fads, like the devices you see on late-night TV infomercials.”

Fitness professionals and personal trainers captured the first and third spots in the survey, but according to Thompson, this increase is at expense of clients. Why? Because the increase in demand for personal trainers and fitness instructors has led to an influx of people entering the profession lacking the necessary training to avoid injuring clients. Thompson said, “There has to be some policing. People are getting hurt by trainers who just don’t have the qualifications.” Personal training was introduced about 10 years ago and was once a luxury for movie stars. Now most gyms provide personal trainers and some gyms are personal trainer-only gyms.

Children and obesity came in second in the poll. “For the first time in history the next generation of young people may not live as long as their parents or grandparents,” said ACSM representatives. Strength training  and core training were in the top five as well.

The stability ball  came in at number eight. (Note: The use of the stability ball did not even make the top 20 in an ACSM survey in 2007.)  Fitness professionals once thought this was a fad, according to the ACSM, but the ball has become into a versatile teaching tool for stability, balance and strength.

Balance training, which includes yoga, Pilates, tai chi and exercise balls, came in at number 10. (Two years ago it was not even in the top 20.)

The emphasis on comprehensive health promotion at the workplace was number 12. “The notion of wellness coaching (number 13) was also a surprise. Last year it was at the bottom.” said Thompson, adding that nutrition as well as exercise and wellness training points to a more holistic approach to fitness in general.

Thompson and his team don’t predict the future, but they believe that the trends they track to inform the fitness industry are also useful in educating the public. For example,  physician referrals to exercise professionals is a growing trend. “Exercise is medicine,” Thompson concludes. “We’re bridging the gap between fitness professionals and physicians.”

Read the full article  here.
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