Top fitness trends for 2010

Tighter budgets and hectic schedules mean that more people are looking for time-efficient and budget-friendly workouts, according to an annual survey by The American Council on Exercise (ACE). The survey, which is based on a worldwide network of personal trainers and health, lifestyle and fitness experts, found these top 10 trends for 2010:

Cost-conscious workouts. Not surprisingly, the impact of the economy will continue to affect fitness choices with budget-conscious exercisers looking for gyms and fitness clubs that offer the most bang for the buck. At-home workouts that utilize small, portable fitness equipment will also continue to be popular. (See Fun ways to exercise at home.)

Group training. Love the support of a personal trainer, but not the cost? An increasingly popular option involves small-group training, which still provides useful instruction and motivation while saving on expenses.

Time-efficient workouts for time-pressured exercisers. More people are looking for ways to reap big fitness rewards with a minimal time commitment. Circuit training and boot-camp style workouts will continue to be popular choices in 2010 since they offer the ability to burn a large number of calories and improve endurance while simultaneously improving muscular fitness.

Exergaming. Exergames are expected to grow in popularity — and even go to the next level: fitness clubs. Look for more unique exercise programs geared to game-lovers and people searching for variety and alternative workout options. (See Is exergaming right for you?)

Boomer+ programs. Fitness programs focusing on older adults continue to be a strong trend, as a growing number of boomers recognize the multitude of benefits that come with regular exercise, from lowering cholesterol and blood pressure to maintaining functional independence and overall wellbeing. If you join a fitness club, make sure it is boomer-friendly, with age appropriate equipment and services, as well as professionally trained staff. (See Fitness, boomer-style.)

Specialty exercise classes. When it comes to fitness, variety is definitely a good thing. Classes such as ethnic dance, hooping, pole dancing and Zumba (a program inspired by Latin dance) will remain popular. (See Strip and shake those pounds away.) Also, we’ll see more fusion-type workouts and mind-body activities.

Fitness training tools. Technology makes scheduling exercise sessions and tracking progress easier — and more fun. Some popular tracking gadgets include GoWear fit and Fitbit. Online tools such as TrainingPeaks offer fitness programs and meal plans. For fitness on-the-go check out iPhone applications and other downloadable programming. (See Track your fitness online and The virtual fitness coach.)

Photo © Catherine Yeulet