Oct. 29, 2012 -- Forget fancy fitness fads. Your body is the only equipment you need for one of the hottest fitness trends: body-weight workouts.
A new survey of fitness trends shows body-weight training, including back-to-basics exercises like push-ups, planks, and pull-ups, is expected to be one of the top 10 fitness trends of 2013.
Researchers say people have been using their own body weight for centuries as a form of resistance training. But this is the first time it has made it into the trend survey, because gyms are now packaging it as part of exercise programs.
“Body-weight exercises are a proven way to get and stay fit,” says researcher Walt Thompson, PhD, of Georgia State University. “In a time when many people are concerned with cutting expenses, body-weight exercises are a great way to feel great and look toned without a big financial investment.”
Taking the top spot in the fitness trend survey for the sixth year in a row are fitness professionals.
Researchers say education and certification programs for health and fitness professionals are experiencing exponential growth. The number of employed fitness trainers is projected to rise by 29% from 251,400 in 2010 to 311,800 in 2020.
According to the survey, the top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2013 are:
1. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals -- Jobs for fitness workers are expected to rise much faster than the average for all other occupations, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
2. Strength training -- In the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row, strength training continues to be a strong trend. No longer restricted to body building, most people now incorporate some form of weight training to improve or maintain muscle strength.
3. Body-weight training -- Body-weight exercises use minimal equipment and include push-ups, pull-ups, planks, and squats.
4. Children and obesity -- Exercise programs aimed at the problem of childhood obesity are also a major fitness trend. Schools are increasingly partnering with commercial and community-based physical activity programs to prevent and treat rising childhood obesity rates.
5. Exercise and weight loss -- Consistently in the top 20 fitness trends, researchers say most popular diet plans incorporate exercise to encourage weight loss.
6. Fitness programs for older adults -- Fitness clubs are capitalizing on an aging baby boomer generation with age-appropriate exercise programs.
7. Personal training -- As more personal trainers are becoming certified, they are becoming more accessible in a variety of settings, such as corporate wellness, community-based, and medical fitness programs.
8. Functional fitness -- Researchers define functional fitness as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to perform activities of daily living. Functional fitness programs are designed to reflect actual activities done as a function of daily living and are often used in fitness programs for older adults.
9. Core training -- Using equipment like balance balls and wobble boards, core training stresses strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the mid-section. Researchers say exercising the core muscles in the hips, lower back, and abdomen improves overall stability for daily activities and sports performance.
10. Group personal training -- A boon for budget-conscious clients, personal trainers now often provide services to small groups of two to four people at deep discounts.
The survey was completed by 3,346 health and fitness professionals worldwide and appears in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal.