American Council on Exercise (ACE) Makes Fitness Trend Predictions for 2004
- Workouts and exercise programs will respond to the critical need for time starved Americans to get an efficient workout in a very short period of time. Trainers will provide simple programs using readily available tools (chairs, steps, even walls) that overcome the common barriers of time and access.
- Mind and body programs blend with traditional work out sessions. Many clubs, personal trainers and group fitness instructors will "infuse" elements of Pilates and Yoga into workouts, programs and club offerings for a holistic approach to wellness. These infusion classes and programs will combine the traditional elements of a fitness program with the benefits of proper posture and breathing and body awareness. By incorporating elements of mental and spiritual fitness, individuals will take better care of their entire being and psychological self, not just their bodies.
- Functional fitness becomes more and more important. Incorporating functional strength training into any existing exercise program enhances coordination, strength and endurance in everyday activities. Focusing on exercising several muscles and joints together rather than working a particular muscle or group of muscles in isolation. This "functional" approach to strength training will result in individuals being able to perform their daily activities and recreational pursuits with greater ease and less discomfort.
- Lifestyle and performance coaching. Phone and internet now make this highly effective service affordable, using heart rate monitors, and other measurement tools, that allow downloadable, and real time feedback. These coaches will address not only their clients' fitness concerns, but also stress reduction, time management, and other important health and wellness areas like sleep and nutrition.
- Health care providers and companies will provide (and, at least, partially subsidize) preventative lifestyle programs. Available research suggests that such programs cost far less than treating lifestyle diseases. Overweight and obese individuals (BMI of 25 and above) are at increased risk for physical ailments such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and coronary heart disease. The easiest and most cost effective resource a company can provide are websites employees can access for important wellness information that includes risk factor assessment tools, fitness calculators, guidelines for beginning a fitness program, how to contact certified fitness professionals, etc.. These programs will "follow" employees using the internet, instant messaging, etc. to promote adherence and long-term success.
- Fitness equipment manufacturers will make equipment that is "smarter", more efficient, and geared toward users varied lifestyles. Equipment will now measure and provide feedback on everything from lactic acid accumulation, to adjusting workouts for stress and preparing for an athletic event. Equipment will finally respond to the need for short, effective workouts while delivering information, coaching feedback, even news, via the internet. Basic, highly portable equipment will help address the needs of those who need to exercise while their baby sleeps, while they are in an airport or even in an empty conference room at the office.
- More clubs will offer pay-as-you-go pricing to their members in lieu of the usual three-year contracts. More and more customers are demanding alternative pricing systems that are more flexible and many clubs are responding. Private studios and YMCAs are offering direct competition for larger clubs and are listening to their customers needs.
- Back to basics for weight loss and nutrition. The millions of Americans who have followed various restrictive diets have not experienced long-term or lasting success. Properly trained fitness professionals will be perfectly positioned to provide these individuals with an option that works---regular exercise and sensible eating.
- Exercise will continue to become preventive care for a growing senior population. Clubs and trainers focus on senior balance, stability and strength training to discourage declines in health and fitness. These programs condition muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones to help fight osteoporosis, keep seniors more limber and stabilize joints, lowering the risk of everyday injury. Regular physical activity will help maintain independence.
- Increased emphasis on simple programs aimed at unseating the sedentary. Many states and cities will have walking programs, and several communities will be adding sidewalks, walking trails and parks to make it easier for people to be physically active. If individuals start making small changes in their activity habits, they can reap significant health benefits.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit 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 sponsors university-based exercise science 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
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