CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- What's trending? For the eighth year, editors of American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal have released their survey for the top 20 fitness trends in the world, and there were a few surprising results.
The 2014 trends, determined by thousands of fitness professionals, aim to differentiate between a fad and a trend when it comes to physical activity. According to the Cambridge dictionary, this would translate as follows:
Trend: A general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving.
Fad: A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period.
It's important to understand the difference in order to accurately list of the kinds of activities that are on the rise as well as those that will become a thing of the past. With this definition, the list becomes quite predictable because, if correct, the same activities should appear over multiple years in the trends survey.
Falling completely out of the top 20 list, this was one of the surprises. Now, don't shoot the messenger; I know it's still fairly popular here. In fact, Zumba houses sprung up and multiplied quickly and had great success offering lots of Zumba classes. These days, however, they've had to diversify and add other types of classes to hold the interest of their members.
Also surprising is that Pilates, spinning and stability training failed to make the 2014 list. According to this survey, they can all be labeled fads. Zumba first appeared as a No. 9 trend in 2012, fell to No. 13 in 2013 and fell to No. 28 in this year's survey. For the second year in a row, Pilates, spinning and balance training couldn't score the top 20.
Top 10 trends for 2014
1. High-intensity interval training came in at No. 1 this year. HIIT is described as bursts of intense activity for short periods followed by a longer recovery period of less-intense activity. It beat out educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals, which had held that coveted position since 2008!
2. Body-weight training: First time in the top 20, so time will tell. It makes sense, though, as this is the most-affordable exercise out there. It uses the body as resistance and requires little or no equipment to get and stay in shape.
3. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals: Health seekers are finally getting the message to work smart and hard. When searching for assistance in fitness, tapping into these people will always be a consumer's best decision.
4. Strength training: This should come as no surprise as it is an integral part of maintaining health and is readily available. Gone are the days when weights were just lifted by men -- now women, seniors and youths are reaping the hefty benefits of resistance training.
5. Exercise and weight loss: Managing weight is the bread and butter of health and fitness professionals. The best ones are tying in sound nutrition and regular exercise into each of their programs.
6. Personal training: Fitness facilities worldwide are demanding properly credentialed personal trainers at an increasing rate. This is good news for everyone.
7. Fitness programs for older adults: Physical activity that is appropriate for the aging Baby Boomers is not only smart, it is profitable, as this population has the funds to pay for it. Also, programs and memberships provided by insurance companies, like SilverSneakers, can engage seniors and make them more active and healthier. Older adults are the fastest-growing membership group in fitness centers and YMCAs alike.
8. Functional fitness: Ties in nicely with No. 7 because it combines strength work, balance training and flexibility exercise in order to help people live independently longer. Senior centers focusing on function will not only decrease the number of falls, but also improve the physical and mental states of their residents.