Trends for Fitness in 2012

There have been a few citations of a research project on global trends in the health & fitness industry going around lately, and I thought it was quite interesting. I like charts and tables and trends, so here’s a few, pulled from the full study:

First, let’s see the historical trends

Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
1 Children & Obesity Educated & experienced fitness professionals Educated & experienced fitness professionals Educated & experienced fitness professionals Educated & experienced fitness professionals
2 Special Fitness programs for older adults Children & Obesity Children & Obesity Strength Training Fitness programs for older adults
3 Educated & experienced fitness professionals Personal Training Personal Training Children & Obesity Strength Training
4 Functional Fitness Strength Training Strength Training Personal Training Children & Obesity
5 Core Training Core Training Core Training Core Training Personal Training
6 Strength Training Special Fitness programs for older adults Special Fitness programs for older adults Special Fitness programs for older adults Core Training
7 Personal Training Pilates Pilates Functional Fitness Exercise & Weight Loss
8 Mind/Body Exercise Functional Fitness Stability Ball Sport-specific training Boot Camp
9 Exercise & Weight Loss Stability Ball Sport-specific training Pilates Functional Fitness
10 Outcome Measurements Yoga Balance training Group Personal Training Physician referrals

Here at our centre, I feel like we’re fairly on-track with the 2011 trends. We have educated and experienced fitness professionals (we don’t just let some random ‘fit guy’ lead a class), our seniors programming is excellent, and I think we’re really getting in with local medical professionals and linking up our services.

Interesting to note that it was initially called ‘Special fitness programs for older adults’ and now is just ‘Fitness programs for older adults.’ Is it just me, or do the semantics of that suggest that it is becoming more ‘main-stream’ and acceptable, and no longer requires a ‘special’ designation? Neat. I like semantics…

Liekwise, the fall of children & obesity is very interesting. I wonder what would drop that down several notches for the last few years? Frustration? Difficulty engaging kids? Not being able to target root causes? The problem isn’t going away, so it’s not like the programs are no longer required.

But here’s what’s coming up in 2012, and it’ll be interesting to see if we can keep up with the times, being a small centre with a heavy bureaucracy behind it.

Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2012*

1. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals
2. Strength training
3. Fitness programs for older adults
4. Exercise and weight loss
5. Children and obesity
6. Personal training
7. Core training
8. Group personal training
9. ZUMBA and other dance workouts*
10. Functional fitness
11. Yoga
12. Comprehensive health promotion programming at the worksite
13. Boot camp
14. Outdoor activities*
15. Reaching new markets
16. Spinning (indoor cycling)
17. Sport-specific training
18. Worker incentive programs
19. Wellness coaching
20. Physician referrals

*Indicates a top 20 position new for 2012.

Looking at this, the #1 place we aren’t hitting target is the new trend of ZUMBA and dance fitness. We are really struggling to secure an instructor here. And I am certainly not your man when it comes to dance 🙂 hehe

Also, ‘Strength training’ is always popular amongst our users, but isn’t really ‘organised’ as such. I assume some of the increased ranking stems from popularity of Cross-Fit Boxes and what they stand for. We would do SO well to have a Cross-Fit style workout program here, but really can’t make it happen due to space and budget for the equipment and very specialised training required to be safe and effective. Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do it, though!

I’d love to be able to run with each of these trends, and bring a taste of each to our centre. Thanks to our personal trainers in the area, we do have PT, Bootcamp, group PT, and a few others on the list, so at least it’s being offered to the community.

For me, personally, I really want to get into area of Wellness Coaching – that’s what I want to do!!

What’s on the way out?

It is always interesting to see what fell out of the top 20 list on this survey for the next year and what seems to be supported by this year’s survey. Particularly surprising, but supported by the 2012 survey, was the fall of Pilates from no. 9 in 2010 (and a top 10 trend for the previous 3 years) to being not even in the top 20 for 2011 and no. 26 in 2012. […]

Also falling out of the top 20 for 2011and supported by the 2012 survey was the use of the stability ball and balance training.  […] The stability ball was a surprise in the top 10 for 2008 and 2009 but fell to no. 18 for 2010, no. 26 in 2011, and no. 27 in 2012. […] The continued interest of the health fitness industry with specialized exercise programs for the older adult has triggered balance training as a possible trend in past surveys. Activities that promote balance include Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates as well as exercise balls, wobble boards, BOSU balls, and foam rollers. […]

A growing segment of the commercial health club industry is unmonitored fitness facilities (as evidenced by the sales of franchises in many parts of the world). […] Respondents to this survey placed this trend nearly last (no. 32) on the potential list of 37 trends. Clearly, health fitness professionals do not believe that this trend will continue, regardless of the business model and its apparent success in the commercial marketplace.

I found it interesting that balance training, including Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates, as well as fitball classes were a slowing/falling trend, while this type of class remains one of our most popular in Katanning. I guess local trends don’t always match up with national and international ones, and we still have to be true to the demands of our customers.

For the complete research paper, please click on this link for a nice pdf version of the WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2012 by Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM

Are any of these activities new to you? Which are you most into or interested in? Do any of the activities on the way out still hit your favourites list?


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