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ACE Predicts Fun for 2008

SAN DIEGO -- This year promises to be filled with water aerobics, boxing clubs and spicy Latin dancing.

That’s according to an annual survey by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) of its worldwide network of personal trainers, group fitness experts, advanced health and fitness specialists, and lifestyle and weight management consultants. Some trends continue from 2007, including functional fitness, balance training and increased access to personal training for all segments of society.

The following represents ACE’s listing of the top 10 fitness trends for 2008:

1. Out-of-the-Box Workouts. The popularity of TV shows like ABC’s “Dancing with Stars” has dance studios popping up around the country. Hip hop, ballroom, Latin and country-line dancing combine high energy and motivating music with unique moves. Outdoor boot camps are gaining in popularity, and local boxing clubs have crowded rings and classes filled with people of all ages.

2. Body-Weight and Equipment-Free Workouts. Equipment can intimidate some, and others want to add options and flexibility to their existing workout regimens. These full-body workouts focus on movement patterns, repetitions and plyometric work to target multiple muscle groups. These types of workouts are perfect for those traveling because they require no equipment.

3. Event or Sports-Specific Programming. The millions of Americans who participate each year in charity runs and walks often do so after training for up to a year. Clubs are offering training for surfboarding, golf, football and more.

4. Boomer Fitness Focus. For the aging population, regular exercise is critical in keeping the body limber, injury free and more youthful. The American Association for Retired People, which is an organization for individuals older than 50, launched a major fitness initiative in September 2007 aimed at providing a wide range of affordable fitness services to its 39 million members.

5. Focused Express Workouts. Also growing in popularity are group classes lasting 30 minutes or less that focus on one component of fitness or training a specific part of the body (e.g., core stabilization, upper-body strength, balance and agility, aerobic training/fat burning). Participants enjoy targeting a specific goal within a short-time commitment. Many clubs piggy-back these classes in their schedules in order for members to attend two classes in a row.

6. Total Wellness Programming. More people will focus on injury and disease prevention and understand how food, exercise, weight and a healthier mindset must interact for the body to achieve balance and total wellness. It is a focus on what the body and mind need and how to encourage them to work in harmony.

7. Hybrid Programming. Fusion of mind-body techniques like breath work and meditation into traditional modalities continues to be popular. Workouts like Spin-Yoga and Pilates Fusion combine strength, flexibility and endurance, and offer the equivalent of an all-in-one exercise experience.

8. Personal Training. Ninety-three percent of ACE fitness professionals surveyed say personal training will be more accessible in 2008. Personal trainers offer clients guidance, motivation and positive accountability.

9. Technology-Based Workouts. Consumers are using downloadable programs on their iPods and PDAs that offer fitness programming with illustrations and/or streaming video. New technology also allows more precise measurements of a variety of physiological responses and documentation of training-program results.

10. Functional Strength Training. Incorporating functional training into an existing exercise program enhances strength, endurance, balance and coordination in everyday activities. Individuals will increasingly search for workout programs that will help them more safely and effectively perform their activities of daily living, work-related tasks and recreational or sports-specific activities.

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