Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2012


Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2012The 2012 ACSM Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends  in the commercial (for-profit), clinical (including medical fitness), community (not-forprofit), and corporate sectors of the industry confirmed some trends revealed in previous surveys. Some of the trends first identified for 2007 have moved up and stayed in the top 10 since the original survey was published, whereas some new trends seem to be emerging for 2012, and others have disappeared out of the top 20. 

The BMI report of  fitness users at Women Fitness shows 38.7 % users as underweight, 23% fell into the healthy weight category, with 1.5% and 3.6 %  obese and extremely obese for the year 2011.  WF health and fitness experts are committed to the task of bringing about a positive change in the health & lifestyles of women all over the world for the twelfth consecutive year.

Trends have been defined as a general development that takes some time and then stays for a period (usually described as a behavior change). Check out this year's fitness trends.

Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals- Holding on to the no. 1 spot for the last 5 years, this is a trend that continues with education and certification programs that are fully accredited by national third-party accrediting organizations for health/fitness and clinical professionals. The need for qualified fitness professional continues to be on the rise with need of the hour. 

Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2012Strength Training- Strength training moved from no. 6 on the list in 2007 to no. 4 in 2008 and remained in that position in 2009. For 2010, strength training moved up to the no. 2 position on the list and, in 2011, dropped slightly to no. 3. This is a trend for both men and women to incorporate strength training into their exercise routines. For many years, and for a good number of health clubs (both for-profit and not-for-profit), a central theme remains strength training. Historically, there are many clients who train exclusively using, and there are still those who lift weights for body building. However, today, there are many other individuals (both men and women, young and old) whose main focus is on using weight training to simply increase or maintain strength.

Fitness Programs for Older Adults-Falling from no. 2 in 2007 to no. 6 in 2008, 2009,and 2010 and then rebounding to no. 2 in 2011, fitness programs for older adults remain a strong trend for 2012. Falling to no. 6 between 2007 and 2008 was a bit of a surprise, considering all the discussion about the baby boom generation rapidly approaching retirement age. However, this trend continues to be strong, making the top 10 in each year of the survey. It is assumed that in retirement, people typically have greater discretionary money but have a tendency to spend it more wisely and have more time to engage in an exercise  program.  The more active older adult can enjoy golf and even an inspired game of pickle ball. The highly active older adult (the athletic old) also can be targeted by commercial and community-based organizations to participate in more rigorous exercise programs including strength training. Even the frail elderly can improve their ability to perform activities of daily living when provided the appropriate quality and quantity of exercise.


Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2012Exercise and Weight loss-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 was ranked no. 18, moving to no. 12 in 2010 and no. 7 in 2011, and now sits in the no. 4 spot. It seems as though people who are in the business of providing weight loss programs will incorporate regular exercise and caloric restriction for weight control. There also is increasing amounts of evidence that shows exercise is essential in weight loss maintenance.


Children and Obesity- The problem with childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue. As school systems face the reality of cutting programs, such as physical education and recess, to spend more time preparing for standardized testing in this challenging economy, this is a trend toward more programs and a potential new market for commercial and community-based organizations. Teens who watch more than two hours of junk food television ads a day had more fat than those who watch less, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2012Personal Training- Although there are some minor variations of personal training (e.g., small groups as opposed to one-on-one), respondents to this survey believe that personal trainers are here to stay and will continue to be an important part of the professional staff of health and fitness centers. Personalized attention is a must for no two people are born same or have similar lifestyle pattern. 


Core Training- Core training typically includes the muscles of the hips, lower back, and abdomen, all of which provide support for the spine and thorax. Exercising the core muscles may enable the client or patient to improve the overall stability of the trunk and transfer that to the extremities, enabling the individual to meet the demands of activities of daily living and for the performance of various sports that require strength, speed, and agility. Building Core Stability is absolutely essential before, during and after pregnancy to prevent back injury and alleviate discomfort.


Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2012Group Personal Training-This trend allows the personal trainer to still provide the personal service clients expect but now in a small group of 2 to 4, offering potentially deep discounts to each member of the group.  Training two or three people at the same time in a small group seems to make good economic sense for both the trainer and the client.

Zumba and Other Dance Workouts- ZUMBA! requires energy and enthusiasm from the instructor and the participants, which combines Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training. ZUMBA! and other dance workouts first appeared on the list of potential trends in 2010 and ranked no. 31 of 37 potential trends; in 2011, it was ranked no. 24 of a possible 31 choices. In 2012, it jumped to the top 10. Clearly, the popularity of ZUMBA! is growing with this rapid escalation in popularity. 


Functional Fitness- Functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to improve someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living. The exercise programs reflect actual activities someone might do as a function of their daily living.

Check out the fitness trends for 2012 and in any case you are not into a routine dedicated to your fitness, its high time you get enrolled into one.


Note: The 2012 worldwide survey of fitness trends is now in its sixth year. It assists the health and fitness industry in making critical programming and business decisions. The results are applicable to all four sectors of the health fitness industry V commercial, clinical, corporate, and community fitness programs. Although no one can accurately predict the future because of the continued uncertain economy all over the world, this survey helps to track trends in the field that will assist owners, operators, program directors, and personal trainers make important business decisions.


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- WF Team

Dated 31 December 2011

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