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Fitness trends for the new year

By Lilly Workneh, Special to CNN
updated 11:57 AM EST, Tue December 27, 2011
Strength training, core training, exercise and weight loss all appear in the top 10 predicted fitness trends for 2012.
Strength training, core training, exercise and weight loss all appear in the top 10 predicted fitness trends for 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Survey predicts the top 20 fitness trends for 2012
  • Dance workout Zumba debuts on the list, ranking ninth this year
  • Certified fitness professionals have taken the No. 1 position for the past five years
  • Fitness programs for older adults moves to No. 3 as baby boomers hit the gym

(CNN) -- Stretch out your core, cue the music and get ready to follow the beats. Zumba and other dance workouts are debuting on the list of the top 20 predicted fitness trends for 2012.

Lack a little rhythm? Well, there's a trend on the list for just about every person, preference and body part.

The trends were selected through an annual survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine. The survey was completed by 2,620 fitness professionals worldwide who ranked their selections into a list of 20 trends they believed would be big in 2012.

"The survey attempts to show a distinction between fads and trends and is a good representation of what's occurring in the health and fitness industry worldwide," said Walter Thompson, Ph.D., the lead author of the survey and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Top 10 worldwide fitness trends for 2012
1. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals

2. Strength training

3. Fitness programs for older adults

4. Exercise and weight loss

5. Children and obesity

6. Personal training

7. Core training

8. Group personal training

9. Zumba and other dance workouts

10. Functional fitness

The list serves to educate consumers and have them question the health clubs they attend. Gym-goers need to determine if their club offers the services that have been deemed trendy across the fitness industry in the year ahead, Thompson says.

For instance, Zumba, a dance workout, offers classes in more than 110,000 gyms in more than 250 countries. So it probably won't be hard to find a gym that offers these classes.

"I think people are waiting to see if we're a fad, but class numbers keep getting bigger and Zumba is becoming more popular, so now, people realize we're here to stay," said Alberto Perlman, CEO and co-founder of Zumba fitness.

Zumba's popularity has skyrocketed over the years, and the dance workout was one of the biggest surprises on the list for 2012.

"Zumba is liberating and magical, and one of the key ways it has expanded is through word of mouth," Perlman said.

Zumba ranked ninth on this year's list. Thompson is curious to see if it will follow Pilates' short run in the top 20 fitness trends. Pilates was ranked in the top 10 for three consecutive years, beginning in 2008, but dropped off in 2011.

Of course, there are always trends that are expected to make an appearance on the list each year, such as educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals; strength training; and fitness programs for older adults.

Fitness professionals claimed the No. 1 spot on the 2012 list -- and have done so for the past five years.

The demand for fitness trainers is expected to boom over the next half-decade. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that the "... jobs for fitness workers are expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations [through 2018]."

"It starts with knowledge, and from that stems all the different ways to get in shape. If you have a certified and educated fitness professional, they can guide you through the other 19 fitness trends," said Brian Attebery, a trainer certified by the National Fitness Professionals Association and the owner of RESULTS Fitness and Nutrition Center in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Also returning among the veteran trends is No. 3 on the list: fitness programs for older adults.

As baby boomers are aging, more are attempting to keep their youthful physique and energy with frequent gym visits.

"The baby boom generation is retiring, and retiring more healthy. They're a lot more active, and many enjoy working out," Thompson said. "And with the economy the way it is, group training was another trend that didn't come as a surprise. These group training sessions are directly related to the economy, and trainers often offer discounts to groups of people."

Once the new year rolls in and resolutions to hit the gym go into full effect, this predicted list of fitness trends will certainly come in handy.

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