Forget fancy workout gear. One of the hottest trends of 2013 suggests you need nothing more than your own body weight.
Body weight training includes back-to-basics exercises — pushups, planks, pullups, squats and other exercises — and using the body as resistance is a leading trend this year. A survey recently released by the American College of Sports Medicine says among fitness trends, body weight training appears in the top 10 for the first time.
"The reason body weight exercises are becoming popular is because it's a proven way to get and stay fit," said Walt Thompson, associate dean for graduate studies and research in the College of Education at Georgia State University. He authored the study. "And it's related somewhat to the economy. Our mentality is more back to the basics."
Thompson said using your own body weight to work out has been around for centuries. Gyms are repackaging body weight training by adding lights, music and fitness instructors to make it seem "fun, exciting, new." And body weight training is something people can do in the comforts of home for free.
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The American College of Sports Medicine survey, now in its seventh year, was completed by 3,346 health and fitness professionals worldwide.
The top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2013 are:
1. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals: Fully accredited education and certification programs for health/fitness professionals are on the rise.
2. Strength training: Remaining in the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row, this trend is important for men, women, young and old to improve or maintain strength.
3. Body weight training: This is the first appearance of this trend in the survey.
4. Children and obesity: With nearly one in three children ages 10 to 17 considered overweight or obese, childhood obesity continues to be a serious public health problem.
5. Exercise and weight loss: Incorporating diet and exercise is of growing interest among fitness professionals. A growing number of fitness programs are offering everything from meal planning to onsite nutritionists to regular lessons on nutrition.
6. Fitness programs for older adults: With this group typically having more discretionary money and time than others, fitness programs for older adults will remain a strong trend for 2013.
7. Personal training: As more professional personal trainers become certified, they are more accessible and available in a wide variety of settings from corporate wellness programs to community-based programs to medical fitness programs.
8. Functional fitness: Functional fitness uses strength training to improve balance, coordination and endurance in order to participate in daily activities without any stress.
9. Core training: Core training stresses strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen, thorax and back.
10. Group personal training: This trend, fueled by the economic downturn, allows the personal trainer to provide individualized service catered to small groups of two to four people.