You might not realize it, but if you’re getting fit or staying fit after 50, then you are riding the wave of one of the hottest trends in fitness around the world.
TWO trends, actually, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), which has released its 17th annual survey on the hot topics in the fitness industry.
Ranked No. 1: wearable technology, like smart watches and fitness trackers that can monitor heart rate, calories and other data.
No. 2: Strength training with free weights, like barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells.
No. 3: Body weight training, which uses the body for its source of resistance.
Now, each of the top three apply to the people over 50, right? You might wear a smart watch, and we know that strength training is essential for healthy aging, whether it’s with free weights or body weight.
But the fourth and fifth items on the list get right to it.
No. 4: Fitness programs for “older adults” made a comeback into the top 10.
No. 5: Functional fitness training focuses on improving balance, coordination, functional strength, and endurance for the everyday activities outside the gym.
This doesn’t surprise us, since we are big believers and advocates for fitness over 50, including functional fitness, whether you want to:
- Achieve athletic excellence or just maintain a healthy weight…
- Travel the world with confidence or just play with your grandkids…
- Or simply feel better, move better, and look better while making your doctor and spouse happy.
If those are “trendy” concerns, then we are happy to be considered “cool.”
The list reflects some interesting changes fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, home gyms fell from No. 2 last year to No. 13.
“The health and fitness industry is returning to the basics,” said Walter Thompson, former ACSM president and lead author of the survey. That follows how fitness professionals pivoted during the worst months of the pandemic to provide service for people wanting to exercise primarily at home.
Take This as Encouragement
We hope this year’s list gives you a little extra encouragement to start exercise or to keep at it. We know it’s challenging either way sometimes, especially if you are starting out.
But this goes to show that you’re not alone as an “older” adult pursuing a healthy lifestyle! And we are here to help you feel comfortable, stay safe, and achieve results for the lifestyle YOU WANT TO LIVE.
Finally, it’s interesting to see how various regions and countries ranked the trends. For example, Australia ranked “Fitness Programs for Older Adults” first, and Spain led with functional fitness.
Europe put “body weight training” at the top, Mexico liked weight loss programs, and the United States matched the overall global ranking for the top spot, wearable tech.
Fitness over 50 knows no boundaries. Let’s get it!
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.