4. The desire for the social aspect found in group exercise classes is on the rise. Variety in workouts is a must. People want all forms of exercise, and they want to do it together. They want to have fun, and they need the social support that comes from sharing their fitness experience with others. Many are stepping off the treadmill and stepping into dance classes, boot camps and group cycling.
5. Growth in small-group personal training is significant. While the numbers for one-on-one personal training have stayed fairly flat, group personal training has exploded. It's cheaper and usually lots more fun.
6. The demand to track everything is up. Technology has become everyone's best workout buddy because we all want instant feedback and information on our performance. You can bet that when a suitable gadget isn't available, there will be an app ready and waiting to be downloaded. Health seekers want to know how far, how fast, how strong they are getting. Motivation in their pocket or at their fingertips helps them avoid injury and boredom, which makes them worth their weight in gold.
7. Exercisers want gyms to cater to their calendar. They want convenience, and they favor health clubs that offer one-stop shopping. This desire has spawned fitness centers that are open 24 hours a day. The "get in and get out" mentality has popularized express classes and shorter, more-intense training sessions with members.
8. Corporations are paying close attention to return-on-investment statistics like never before. With the obvious deterioration of the nation's health, workplace wellness services have become more than a nice thing to do for employees. Fitness benefits create happy, healthier employees, which reduces absenteeism and compensation claims, makes their ROI very attractive. Complimentary gym memberships and flexible spending accounts are some of the newer perks seen more and more in benefit package to help recruit and retain talented employees -- especially those interested in staying healthy.
9. Functional fitness training is here to stay. Suspension and gravity training using one's own bodyweight is no longer a fad, it's a driving force in many health facilities. Because it's challenging and interesting, it's being incorporated into countless classes and personal training sessions.
10. A focus on prevention is introducing physicians to a new kind of prescription. A prescription for exercise -- this is just what the doctor ordered. Hopefully, this will drive home the fact that physical activity is better than any pill we can ever take. Exercise, a true wonder drug, is beginning to show up on the prescription pad, and some savvy insurance companies are starting to see the light in terms of rewarding healthy lifestyle habits.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.