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Wellness trends for 2013 according to health, fitness professionals

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 10:15 am

My fashion forward daughters always remind me that fashion trends change every year. Heaven forbid, I do not wear skinny jeans or jeans that actually fit around my waist. They must be straight leg and hip huggers (at least that is what we used to call them) otherwise they tell me I have on “mom” jeans. One would think that would be okay because I am a mom, but no they must be the ones that are popular this season. Trust me, my old jeans will cycle back around, but for now I will try and please the fashion police at my house.

The world of wellness and fitness is not much different; there are new trends that emerge each year. The trends used to start on the West Coast and work its way to the East Coast. By the time we got the new wave of fashions they have already started with something different. Although I will say the world of social media, technology and fast paced news is changing all of that. We are all seeing the trends in real time, which drive us (fitness professional) to learn more about the new trends and in turn share that with our clients, classes and community.

Following is a list of the top five wellness trends for 2013 according to the American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM publishes a survey which was completed by 3,346 health and fitness professionals worldwide and was designed to reveal trends in various fitness environments. I will be sharing the top 10 trends for 2013 with you over the next couple of weeks.

   » Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals: Educated and experienced fitness professionals claimed the top spot in 2013 for the sixth consecutive year. There seems to be an exponential growth of educational programs at community colleges, undergraduate programs, and graduate programs at colleges and universities. The importance of obtaining certification through academic accreditation is highly recognized by the fitness industry.

Wow, that is pretty telling of our culture and what it now expects of people who call themselves fitness professionals.

   » Strength Training: Strength training remains at the number two position for the second year in a row but has been a strong trend since the first year of this survey. This trend calls for both men and women to incorporate strength training into their exercise routines or to use it as the primary form of exercise. Most health and fitness professionals today incorporate some form of strength training into a comprehensive exercise routine for their clients and for patients with stable diseases. It is not uncommon for cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation or metabolic disease management programs to include weight training in the exercise prescription.

   » Body Weight exercise: Appearing for the first time in the trend survey is body weight training. Body weight training did not appear as an option in previous surveys because it has only now become popular (as a defined trend) in gyms around the world. This is not to say that body weight training has not been used previously. On the contrary, people have been using their own body weights for centuries as a form of resistance training.

   » Children and Obesity: Retaining a spot in the top 10 in this year’s survey is exercise programs aimed specifically at the problem of childhood obesity. The problem with childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue in most developed and developing nations. As public school systems continue to face the reality of cutting programs such as physical education and recess to spend more time preparing for standardized testing in a challenging economy, this is a trend toward more programs and a potential new market for commercial and community-based organizations.

   » Exercise and Weight Loss: For many years, weight loss programs have been trying to infuse a regular exercise program into the caloric restriction diets of many popular commercial programs. Most well-publicized diet plans incorporate exercise into their daily routine of providing meals to their clients. The combination of exercise and weight loss is a trend toward incorporating all weight loss programs with a sensible exercise program. This has been a growing trend since the survey began. In 2009, exercise and weight loss ranked number 18, moving to number 12 in 2010, number seven in 2011 and number four in 2012 and now sits in the number five spot.

See you in the gym.

Linda Stollings is a personal fitness trainer in Bristol, Tenn. Email her at lstollings@fitprescriptions.com.

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