This study revealed some important trends in the fitness industry. The commercial health club can use this information to build exciting new, high-volume, low-cost, and profitable innovative programs. Corporate health promotion programs can develop stimulating novel approaches to improving employee fitness and morale while decreasing absenteeism. Recognizing the clinical characteristics of this survey, medical fitness centers can capitalize on the growing trends of medical referrals, especially those dealing with childhood obesity and the likelihood that the obese child is coming from a family of obese or overweight parents. Community-based programs will find the survey results to be of benefit because of its public health implications. It will be interesting to see if these trends hold up during 2007.
International Experts Comment on 2007 Trends
"The results of this survey reinforce the fact that the fitness industry is not, and should not be, a 'fad' industry. The fitness industry is dedicated to the health and wellness of the populations we serve through programs and services which will last a lifetime, not just a month or two. Developing programs based on these trends and then measuring outcomes will strengthen the industry as it continues to grow and develop. Including physicians and other clinical specialists with appropriately trained and certified fitness professionals-as part of a team approach to prevent and manage disease-will provide additional opportunities and pathways for the health/fitness center to reach everyone in the community."
Cary Wing, Ed.D., received her advanced degree in applied physiology from Columbia University. Her background spans more than 25 years in the health and wellness field, and she has been directly involved in the development of medically integrated health/fitness centers. She is the executive director of the Medical Fitness Association.
"This survey goes beyond merely identifying fitness trends for 2007: it lists the elements for an international working blueprint for action that challenges fitness professionals and the industry in which they work. Rather than just a listing of independent trends reflecting public health concerns, they help to guide an integrated approach to developing and delivering relevant programs for individuals, groups, and the community at large. Importantly, they encapsulate key issues for developing countries that can see beyond the epidemiological transition they are making. Congratulations to Dr. Thompson and his team for helping us all look carefully into the future."
Wye Mun Low, M.B.B.S., M.S.S., M.P.H., FACSM, is a sports physician who helped develop the first medical fitness center in Singapore and introduced the ACSM Exercise Specialist® certification to his country. He serves on the ACSM International Relations Committee.
"The survey results provide a relatively accurate picture of the trends currently impacting the health/fitness facility industry. I believe certain trends such as sports-specific conditioning for youth and "express exercise" (e.g., exercise programs that can be done in less than 30 minutes) have become more prevalent in the commercial setting than reflected in the survey. In addition, I believe that insurance reimbursement for commercial and nonprofit facility memberships is a growing trend that will impact the industry in 2007 and beyond, which is not reflected in the survey. Finally, the number one trend of children and obesity, I believe, is definitely one of the top issues or opportunities presented to fitness professionals, but at the time, I don't believe that programming for this area has reached the status of a trend. Overall, the trends shared in the article are excellent and will assist fitness professionals in leveraging their skills to benefit their clients and drive business profitability."
Stephen Tharrett, M.S., is the president of Club Industry Consulting and a 27-year veteran of the health/fitness industry. He spent 20 years as both a vice president and a senior vice president of ClubCorp with responsibilities in fitness, golf, and tennis. He is a past president of IHRSA and the coeditor of the second and third editions of the ACSM Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines. In the past year, he has published two textbooks, Fitness Management and ACE's Fitness and Business Forms Handbook.
"ACSM has done an outstanding job in organizing and synthesizing key trends in the health and fitness industry. Virtually every provider of health and fitness services is looking into their crystal ball for the answers to future program direction, as well as to get a better handle on what's hot right now. I am especially pleased to see the trends reflect much of the recent work of YMCAs and other community-based programs from across the country, particularly with regard to their work with youth and older adults. I predict that these trends will be used extensively and eagerly anticipated in the forthcoming years."
Michael Spezzano, M.S., began working in July for the YMCA of Greater New York in a newly created position to oversee the delivery of health and wellness programs along with membership management for the largest YMCA in the United States. For the past 12 years, he was the national health and fitness specialist for YMCA of the USA, in Chicago, IL. In that position, he provided leadership to the national YMCA in the field of health and fitness. His responsibilities included program design and development, certification training, resource development, and consultation to the 2,600 YMCAs in the United States on matters related to health and fitness.
The author thanks Editor-in-Chief Ed Howley, Ph.D., FACSM, for considering this project important enough to include in the year-end edition of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal®. The author also thanks the ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal® editorial team, especially Paul Couzelis, Ph.D.; John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM; Nico Pronk, Ph.D., FACSM; Mike Spezzano, M.S.; Neal Pire, M.A., FACSM; Jim Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM; Melinda Manore, Ph.D., R.D., FACSM; Cary Wing, Ed.D.; Reed Humphrey, Ph.D., P.T., FACSM; and Steve Tharrett, M.S., for their very important input into the construction of the survey. Finally, the author is indebted to the ACSM staff who supported this study by assisting in the construction of the survey, formatting it for delivery, and sending it to thousands of fitness professionals around the world. In particular, the author recognizes the important contributions of ACSM staff, D. Mark Robertson, Lori Tish, Mike Niederpruem, Hope Wood, Traci Rush, and Gretchen Dovenmuehle.
1. LaForge, R. Research case for mindful exercise grows. IDEA Health & Fitness Source
Keywords:© 2006 American College of Sports Medicine
Expert Opinions; Future Programs; Trends; Fads; Predictions; Commercial; Corporate; Clinical; Community