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2016 Fitness Trend The top 10 fitness trends for 2016 from the ACSM Survey are:
  1. Wearable Technology. Includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices.
  2. Body Weight Training. Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get "back to the basics" with fitness.
  3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
  4. Strength Training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
  5. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals. Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it's important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM. ACSM is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification organizations in the world.
  6. Personal Training. More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
  7. Functional Fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
  8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
  9. Exercise and Weight Loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
  10. Yoga. Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
The full list of top 20 trends is available in the article "Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016: 10th Anniversary Edition." An infographic of the trends study results is available Wellness Coaching: Health Plus provides personal wellness coaching as a benefit for Vanderbilt faculty and staff. Wellness coaching can help you find the motivation and tools to reach your goals. Goals might include losing weight, being more physically active, eating better, quitting smoking or lowering stress. Your coach will offer guidance and support along the way.  Call 615-343-8943 to get started.

Begin Transcript

Laura Osterman: Welcome to this edition of the Vanderbilt University Health and Wellness Wellcast. I am Laura Osterman with Health Plus. Over the past 10 years, the editors of ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal have sent out an electronic survey to thousands of professionals worldwide to determine health and fitness trends. The first survey was conducted in 2006. It developed a systematic way to predict health and fitness trends, and surveys have been conducted annually ever since. We are here today with Brad Awalt, manager of Health Plus to discuss the 2016 fitness trends. Thanks for joining us today. Laura Osterman: Tell us about ACSM and this worldwide survey. Brad Awalt: ACSM stands for the American College of Sports Medicine, and they have been around for many, many, many years, and basically, they are considered the gold standard when it comes to exercise prescription and exercise guidelines. Another thing that they have done in the last 10 years is this fitness trend survey. They identify fitness professionals all over the world and they survey them about what is popular and they heard back from about 3000 respondents, and they got some really good interesting results. Laura Osterman: So, these trends can be used to help listeners maybe pick up a new inspiration of an activity or exercise program for the New Year. Brad Awalt: They can, and also, people that have facilities or programs, this survey allows them to see what is popular and what programs they may need to consider if they are not already doing so. Laura Osterman: What is the distinction between a fad and a trend? This is something addressed in the survey. Brad Awalt: Well, a trend is a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving, and a fad is a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period. So, we have seen some different fitness fads come and go over the years, but there have been some trends that have stuck around. Some of the trends first identified in the first survey have stayed at the top of the list whereas other new trends appear to be emerging for 2016 and even some have dropped out over the top 20. So, when we take a look at some that seem to be in the top 20 year in and year out, having access to educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals is one that always seems to be there as well as personal training and having access to fitness programs for older adults. Laura Osterman: What trends have dropped off the list this year? Brad Awalt: This may surprise some of our listeners, but Zumba, Pilates, and indoor cycling used to be in the top 20, and they have dropped off a little bit. That may indicate that what’s once perceived to be a trend was actually a fad. Now, this does not mean that you should not take part in these classes if that is something that you enjoy doing, and you are probably still going to see fitness facilities and programs around the country still offering these programs. They just may not be as popular for 2016 as they once have in the past. Laura Osterman: And it is possible sometimes too that these trends or fads can come and go on the list. Sometimes, we see those trends come back and resurge. Brad Awalt: That’s a good point, and yoga is one that we can look at that was high in the top 10 there for a while, then it actually dropped out about 5 years ago, out of the top 20, and is back in the top 20 this year, so yes, that is very possible. Laura Osterman: Now, what trends were at the top of the list for 2016? Brad Awalt: Number 3 was high-intensity interval training, number 2 was body weight training, and the number 1 trend for 2016 is wearable technology. Laura Osterman: Can you tell us more about each of these trends? Let’s start with number 3, high-intensity interval training. Brad Awalt: This trend actually was the top spot for 2015, so it dropped down, and high-intensity interval training typically involves short burst of high-intensity exercise, so going at maximum level for a short period of time followed by a short period of rest or recovery, and the good thing about high-intensity interval training is you can get a really good workout in very little time. So, about 20 to 30 minutes and you are going to feel like you have done something. Prior to 2015, this trend had been offered as a possible trend, but it had not made the top 20 as many respondents cautioned about potential danger, so any time you do something with a higher intensity level, there could be an increased risk of injury or maybe some health related issues. So, the bottom line there, if this is something that you are interested in doing, I would advise you to make an appointment with your physician and maybe tell them of some exercises that you are thinking of doing and they may do some tests just to make sure that you are healthy for that particular activity. Laura Osterman: Number 2 was body weight training. What can you tell us about this trend? Brad Awalt: The one thing about body weight training is that it has been around for centuries and it is kind of new to the trends. It first appeared in the top 20 in 2013. So, basically, typical body weight training uses minimal equipment and that is the one thing that makes it very appealing, and it is very inexpensive as well. When we talk about body weight training, I think one typically thinks of pushups and sit-ups and those are definitely exercises that we are talking about, but also, things like burpees that is common in the personal training and even in the high-intensity interval training regimen. Box jumps, wall squats, those are all forms of body weight training exercises, and definitely as I mentioned before, these are exercises that are very common in group personal training and personal training sessions. Laura Osterman: In the number 1 spot was wearable technology. Can you tell us more about this trend? Brad Awalt: Wearable technology is fairly new. It was introduced just a few years ago, and this is the first year that it has appeared in the trends and it went straight to number 1. Wearable technology includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices. Laura Osterman: What recommendations do you have for those ready to take on New Year’s resolutions or goals for 2016? Brad Awalt: The general recommendation for exercise that American College of Sports Medicine suggests is to try to get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise. So, that is going to be anything at an intensity level comparable to a brisk walk, and if you cannot do 150 minutes right away, the best thing to do is do what you can and just gradually increase your time until you can get to 150 and then you can go beyond that. So, my three things for people starting with New Year’s resolutions and trying to get on the right foot with exercise is the first thing is you really want to try to choose activities that you are going to have fun, and that may be finding a partner to exercise withAlso, track and that may be where the wearable fitness devices come in hand just to track your activity. It can be as simple as just writing down your workouts in a journal that can be a little less costly, but tracking activity definitely seems to help there and then most importantly, be consistent. If you miss a workout, do not fret about that, but if you can try to be consistent and maybe each week try to get at least three workouts in, and if you can do more, great; if not, there is always next week to try to increase the number of days. Laura Osterman: What fitness related benefits and resources are available to faculty and staff here at the Vanderbilt? Brad Awalt: Health Plus is the Vanderbilt faculty and staff wellness program, and I will have to say that on our fitness trends worksite health promotion program was number 12 on the list, and we definitely have all kinds of programs that might help people. So, another opportunity that was also on the trends is wellness coaching, and that is something that we have so you can set up an appointment with the wellness coach and they will help you with setting goals and help you reach those goals. We also have a series of online workouts that can be used as a guide for your exercise routines. These are great if you want to exercise at home. If you want to exercise when you travel, in your office, they are great for that, and then also tracking activity, we do have a tracker that you can use as part of the Health Plus Health Guide, and you can also sync wearable fitness devices with that tracker or you can do it manually, whatever you prefer. Laura Osterman: Brad, thanks for your time today. Brad Awalt: You are welcome. Thank you, Laura. Laura Osterman: Thanks for listening. Please feel free to leave us any comments on this Wellcast on the form at the bottom of this page. If you have a story suggestion, please email it to us at health.wellness@vanderbilt.edu or you can use the “Contact Us” page on our website at healthandwellness.vanderbilt.edu. -- end of recording (11:17) --