SAN DIEGO - The American Council on Exercise (ACE), a nonprofit health and fitness organization, offers the following fitness trend predictions for 1999:
- People exercising for the "health" of it vs. exercising to obtain the perfect body. With the 1996 Surgeon General’s Report and a deluge of other research confirming the health benefits of physical activity, more people, especially older adults who realize that exercise enables them to live, work and function more effectively, are including some sort of regular physical activity in their lives. According to the Fitness Products Council, participation in sports and fitness activities increased 19% between 1987 and 1997.
- Personal training: No longer for the rich and famous, personal trainers are offering their services to moderate-income clients. Instead of signing up for two visits per week, trainers are spreading fewer visits out over a limited period of time (like six months) with the goal of helping the client establish a safe and effective exercise program. In-home personal training will also become more widespread in the coming year. The market for personal trainers is growing: The number of people sitting for ACE’s personal trainer certification exam has grown 200% over the last 3 years.
Look for the following activities and trends to become increasingly popular in 1999:
- Boxaerobics/kickboxing classes: Taking a cue from boxing and the martial arts, these classes emphasize strength and cardio endurance, and may feature self-defense training.
- Group personal training: Working out with a personal trainer in small groups of 2-8 people.
- Kids fitness: Kid-specific programs at gyms and fitness centers and gyms specifically devoted to children.
- Body Pump: A group strength training class set to music. Created by the Step Company, some see Body Pump as the biggest thing since step; others don’t think it will reach that height of popularity.
- "Boot Camp" workouts: Exercise sessions patterned after the intense militaristic physical training practiced in the armed forces. Specialized classes such as the Navy Seal workout and the Fireman’s workout are equally intense.
- Indoor group cycling classes: Popularity will continue to grow in 1999 for special groups – beginners, seniors, etc. as additional programs are developed and new bike designs are introduced.
- Outdoor activities: Hiking, mountain-biking, rock-climbing, etc.
- Mind/body techniques: Includes the many disciplines of Yoga, tai chi, pilates and specialized forms of meditation and stress reduction.
- Indoor group treadmill classes ("treading" or "trekking") and group rowing classes: Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of indoor group cycling (spinning), these classes appeal to those who prefer to exercise in a group setting.
- Sport-specific workouts: Programs designed to increase performance in sports such as golf and tennis.
- Older-adult programs: Fitness centers will offer a variety of exercise programs designed specifically for older adults.
Also Hot in 1999:
- Elliptical trainers, particularly gym-based models.
- Interactive cardio machines and web-connected interactive fitness machines.
- Specialty-themed aerobics classes featuring music such as Gospel and African.
- Day spas specializing in relaxation and alternative exercises such as tai chi and yoga.
- Working out at the office is becoming a popular way for busy people to make time for exercise during their workday. As employers begin to realize the value of fit and healthy employees, state-of-the-art exercise facilities are popping up at major corporations throughout the U.S., including Gap, Oracle, Clif Bar and 3Com.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s "workout watchdog," ACE conducts university-based research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.