Read through a survey of fitness trends published recently by the American College of Sports Medicine, and you'll find some potentially good news for the sports turf industry.

American College of Sports Medicine fitness trends may favor field sports

Note: The American Sports Builders Association likes to keep up with the latest trends in exercise, fitness and sports. Occasionally, ASBA will gain important insights on new trends by reading the research of some of the most noted organizations in the profession. The recent release of a new survey by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) allowed ASBA a fascinating look into what’s ahead, and allowed us to guess how it might affect builders of facilities. The following survey information is presented with the permission of ACSM.


Read through a survey of fitness trends published recently by the American College of Sports Medicine, and you’ll find some potentially good news for the sports turf industry.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) survey of worldwide fitness trends, (specifically those expected to be most popular in 2011) was published in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®. A total of 31 potential fitness trends were given as choices, and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM.


The list is shown in full at the conclusion of this article. Here are a few items from the top 20 — and ASBA’s interpretation of a few ways tennis could dovetail into the projected growth. (Note: The number preceding each item is its numerical place on the list).


2. Fitness programs for older adults: Mature adults are a great market for the fitness industry; in fact, programs aimed at this demographic make up the second most popular trend for 2011.

Our take: A growing number of sports leagues are being developed with seniors in mind: kickball, softball and whiffle ball come to mind, but there are others as well. All those seniors are going to need fields where they can come to play, socialize and stay healthy.


 4. Children and obesity: With childhood obesity growing at an alarming rate, health and fitness professionals see the epidemic as an opportunity to create programs tailored to overweight and obese children. 

Our take: The rise of the rec soccer league is only one example. Parents are enrolling their children in programs like Little League, pee-wee football, lacrosse and more. Just as with seniors, all those kids will need places to play. (Bonus round: With lifelong involvement in sports — what health professionals hope will be the outcome of an emphasis on fitness in children — more facilities will continue to be needed, and those in existence will need upkeep).


16. Sport-specific training: According to the ACSM study, this trend (including programs in sports such as tennis and golf) is on track to attract a new market to commercial clubs and community-based fitness organizations. 

Our take: The ACSM survey points out that sport-specific training appeals particularly to young athletes, such as those in high school, who want to train in the off-season, or who want brush up on, or keep their skills sharp, so that they make the team. Programs like tune-ups for baseball (which include not only skill drills like throwing, hitting and catching, but aerobic exercise like running), or healthy golf programs (which combine time on the putting green with aerobic exercise) add up to more use of fields, even at unexpected times.


Workouts are different, even since last year, according to the survey. Fitness trends that dropped off the survey completely included Pilates, use of the stability ball, and balance training. (Note: Something that ACSM professionals thought might be a trend in the 2011 survey was the 24-hour fitness facility, but this failed to register in the top 20). 

Taking the place of the three items that dropped out were the following:

17. Worker incentive programs, 18. Clinical integration (defined as the integration and blending of prevention and clinical services); and 19. Reaching new markets (defined as a trend that identifies new markets in all aspects of the health/fitness industry).

The survey was sent to ACSM-certified health and fitness professionals worldwide, and respondents returned more than 2,200 completed surveys. The full list of fitness trends for 2011 is:

1. Educated and experienced fitness professionals 

2. Fitness programs for older adults

3. Strength training

4. Children and obesity

5. Personal training

6. Core training

7. Exercise and weight loss

8. Boot camp

9. Functional fitness

10. Physician referrals

11. Yoga

12. Worksite health promotion

13. Outcome measurements

14. Group personal training

15. Spinning (Indoor cycling)

16. Sport-specific training

17. Worker incentive programs

18. Clinical integration

19. Reaching new markets

20. Wellness coaching

Source: The American College of Sports Medicine, Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2011, Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM,