It seems that the predicted fitness trends for 2008 are pretty similar to those we saw in 2007, though this year we're seeing more of a focus on the specifics, rather than large generalizations.
Here are the top ten health and fitness trends for 2008:
- Educated and experienced fitness professionals. More organizations are seeking accreditation for academic and certification programs for fitness professionals, including personal trainers, which will contribute to industry regulation.
- Programs to fight childhood obesity. The high ranking of this trend matches the country's concern about childhood obesity and health. An influx of fitness programs designed specifically for children and adolescents is expected to help combat this problem.
- Personal training. This trend moved up four spots from last year's survey, signaling that the profession of personal training is becoming more realistic and accessible to the public.
- Strength training. The number four trend for 2008 supports ACSM and the American Heart Association's updated physical-activity guidelines, released earlier this year, which state that eight to ten strength-training exercises should be done at least twice per week.
- Core training. Emphasis on core training is expected to continue. Core training strengthens muscles surrounding the spine, such as the pelvis and abdominal muscles.
- Special fitness programs for older adults. The fitness industry is expected to capitalize on the fastest-growing segment of the population: older adults reaching retirement age.
- Pilates. In last year's survey, Pilates and yoga were grouped together as mind/body fitness, but both made this year's top ten trends as separate entities.
- Functional fitness. Functional fitness focuses on training that aids in everyday activity, like reaching for items on a top shelf or increasing ability to perform a certain work task.
- Swiss ball. A surprise in the list is the appearance of the Swiss ball, a round object constructed of rubber with a variable diameter.
- Yoga. Finishing the top ten predicted trends list for 2008 is yoga, which has grown to include many different forms, such as power yoga or yoga designed to be performed in hot and humid climates.
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