Hello Fellow Researchers!
The American Colleges of Sports Medicine (ACSM) just released their annual list of the top ten fitness trends for 2024. Its purpose is to provide a systematic way to forecast health and fitness trends and inform health and fitness professionals on what is in demand within the fitness industry so they can better adapt to the changing environment.
#10 Personal Training
A personal trainer's overall job is to guide their clients toward being a healthier and more functional person. This includes getting to know the client, conducting an initial assessment, setting and benchmarking goals, and educating the client on nutrition and exercise technique. The personal trainer is also there to coach their clients and motivate them to continue their progress when they leave the gym. Personal trainers are certified by an accredited fitness association and continue their education by regularly attending conferences, clinics, and in-person courses. Today, personal trainers work in a variety of settings, including within health clubs, visiting the home, at worksite fitness facilities, and online.
#9 Youth Athletic Development
This trend concerning the training and overall development of young athletes that focus on developing motor skills, strength, and coordination. There is a rise in training facilities and programs that are designed to improve confidence, develop social skills, and enhance sports performance in our younth. In these programs children and adolescents learn basic movement patterns and prepare for skill acquisition in the sports that they are interested in. Exercise professionals should consider continuing education or specialty training when working with this special population.
#8 Exercise for Mental Health
Programming exercise for improved mental health lands at #8 as individuals and groups begin to acknowledge the importance of movement on cognition and mood, as well as emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Approximately one in every eight individuals globally is affected to varying degrees by mental illness (per the WHO), and regular exercise can serve as a protective factor, and boost a number of variables.
#7 Mobile Exercise Apps
The use of mobile exercise apps allows for flexibility in program delivery. Exercise apps have impacted the market with many unique options for consumers and demonstrate effectiveness in increasing physical activity for users. Consumers can use mobile apps to track exercise activities and receive feedback on performance. Some apps integrate mechanisms for social support and provide tips for behavioral skill acquisition, both key components of health behavior change theory.
#6 Employing Certified Fitness Professionals
When seeking out and eventually hiring a personal trainer, it is important to work with one who has completed fitness-related educational programs and has fully accredited health and fitness certifications. In confirming that they are certified, you will know that they have, at the very least, a good foundation of knowledge concerning exercise, diet, and the human body. There are a number of accredited fitness associations that you would want your personal trainer or instructor to be certified by, including ACSM, NSCA, NASM, AFAA, ACE Fitness, and CanFitPro.
#5 Reimbursement for Qualified Exercise Professionals (QEPs)
This trend appears at #5, and addresses licensure for Qualified Exercise Professionals, or QEPs. Licensure never peaked in the top 10, and significant policy-level barriers exist that make licensure less realistic for the fitness industry in many regions worldwide. However, reimbursement for the services that QEPs are trained to provide supports recognition of exercise professionals (i.e., personal trainers and exercise physiologists) as a part of the health-care continuum.
#4 Exercise for Weight Loss
To start, weight loss should begin with emphasis on a proper eating routine that will provide you with the nutrients that you need, but will result in a caloric deficit, which means you burn more calories than you ingest. And a great complement to eating right is the often recommended physical activity. This can include low-intensity exercise such as brisk walking or going to the park and running around with your kids, with high intensity exercise being running, swimming, and weight lifting. The increase in muscle will burn more calories at rest and enhance the level of hormones that control appetite. Aerobic exercise will lower the risk of heart disease and improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
#3 Fitness Programs for Older Adults
People are living longer, working longer, and desiring to remain healthy and physically active throughout their life span. With 15% of men and 11% of women over the age of 65 meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines (per the CDC, 2020), and with 27% of this population living independently (per the ACL, 2023), it is important to not only to attract the older generations into a fitness facility, but to also make the gym or studio more accommodating to those individuals, including changing the lights and type of music, have the fitness programs be more functional and movement-based, and schedule the sessions and classes around the times that they participants are best able to arrive. Regular aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity is an essential strategy for reducing the impact of disease, maintaining independence, and improving quality of life throughout the aging process.
#2 Worksite Health Promotion
According to the CDC, the average American will spend approximately one-third of their life at the workplace when participating in a 40-hour work week. This new trend of promoting health in the workplace appears as there is an increased interest in health and quality of life within our society. It would benefit employers to adopt this way of thinking as an opportunity to encourage health-promoting behaviors (e.g., physical activity and preventative screenings), which can result in lower insurance costs, increase workplace productivity, and improve mental health. Some examples of worksite health promotion include access to fitness facilities, employee athletic leagues, and health education classes.
#1 Wearable Technology
This trend is the only one that has been in the top 3 every year since 2016, and it is not hard to see why. There are a number of devices like fitness trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices that count your steps and track your heart rate, calories, and how far you’ve run and where. The information can then be analyzed and used to improve exercise performance, recovery, and overall lifestyle, as well as allow the wearer to stay consistent with an exercise routine by attempting to maintain or improve upon their own data. These types of devices are also used at the collegiate, professional, and international levels of competition in the hopes of getting an edge over their competitors, just like you pursuing to improve into your future self.
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