Total Therapy Blog
Deconstructed – Top 5 Fitness Trends for 2012
Every year, a new trend makes its way into the health and wellness market. From the flash-in-a-pan ThighMaster craze, to the more enduring Pilates following, fitness trends are constantly evolving. However, just because something is trending doesn’t make it a good idea (anyone remember the sauna suit fiasco of the 80s and 90s?). We went straight to the source – the American College of Sports Medicine’s survey for 2012’s fitness trends – and deconstructed each one with a critical eye so you can make the informed choice about your health. (Main Article – ACSM)
1. Educated and experienced fitness professionals.
The ACSM has educated and experienced fitness professionals at the top of its list, and this is a good thing. Not all fitness folks are created equal, and the professional designation an individual has makes a difference. Most professional organizations require that their members obtain a certain level of education before they can apply for membership. In addition to this, organizations often require their members to do continuing education courses to keep their skill sets up-to-date. The minimum level of education and continuing coursework varies between organizations, some with more stringent requirements than others. For example, the B.C. Association of Kinesiologists requires all of its members to have completed a bachelor’s degree in the field of Kinesiology, and requires the annual fulfillment of continuing education credits to maintain membership. Knowing a fitness professional’s designation can help you identify those practitioners who have the qualifications you need.
2. Strength training.
We’re happy to see that this trend made it onto the list. Strength training is a great way to build bone mass, protect your joints, increase your functional capacity, and reduce the impact of chronic diseases like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, The caveat here is that strength training has to be done properly. Weight training can also cause injury – poor form, too heavy a weight, or the wrong exercises are common culprits. If you’ve never weight-trained before, have a pre-existing condition, or you’d like to progress to more advanced lifts, get informed first. Your kinesiologist or physiotherapist can provide guidance on what exercises are right for you, and how to do them safely.
3. Fitness programs for older adults.
Research suggests that staying active is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as you age. Even modest amounts of physical activity are associated with significant health benefits – lower blood pressure, decreased risk of stroke and heart disease, and a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, to name a few. Similar to strength training, certain caveats apply: if you have a pre-existing condition, or you want to try a new fitness program, check in with your healthcare provider before starting.
4. Exercise and weight loss.
This perennial top-5 trend has become increasingly important in recent years. Obesity and inactivity is quickly becoming the biggest threat to our collective health. One in five Canadians will die from heart disease, and this is projected to increase as a result of our rising obesity rates (Stats Canada). Exercise, in conjunction with a healthy diet, is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Summer is a great time to get out, be active, and achieve a healthier weight. Do something active with a friend, family member, or coworker. If you need a little more structure, talk to your healthcare provider and get an individualized plan you can stick to. You owe it to yourself.
5. Children and obesity.
For the first time ever, the youngest generation of Canadians growing up may live a shorter life than their parents. This is due largely to rising childhood obesity rates and its associated long-term health consequences. As a result, a rising fitness trend is that of activity programs targeted towards children. Structured programs can be great for certain kids, but we also need to keep in mind that children need time for unstructured play. Getting outside and running around with the neighbourhood kids is a great way to get physical activity. Remember, a child needs at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day (Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines). Twice weekly soccer practices just won’t cut it.
This year’s fitness trends have two main things in common: 1. As individuals, we have become increasingly aware that we need to take care of our bodies; and 2. Healthcare professionals can help us achieve our goals. As far as trends go, these are ones worth following.