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Health & Families

The hottest fitness trend: it's all about balance

What's hot in fitness this year? According to some of the 5,000 fitness professionals who attended IDEA World Fitness Convention in Los Angeles, the new trend is functional, balanced workouts designed to keep you fit and injury-free.

"It's pretty clear from the front-line program directors that they see things trending even more strongly toward more functional, life-enhancing types of training and equipment," says Kathie Davis, IDEA's executive director of a survey report released by the organization last week.

"Given the millions of Baby Boomers who are aging into active seniors, training is all about balance and function, such as promoting an increased quality of life, reducing injuries and keeping people more actively engaged in life as they age," she added.

The most popular fitness equipment promoting balance and funtion cited by IDEA attendees include BOSU balance trainers, disks, wobble boards, and balance boards. Also more gyms are incorporating body weight leverage equipment into their arsenals, and these include TRX Suspension Trainers, climbing ladders, ropes, and push-up and pull-up devices, as well as foam rollers, small balls, and kettle bells.

Davis adds that she see the growth in balance equipment and training as a reflection of fitness professionals "being creative enough to keep training fun and interesting with new tools." She adds: "The industry must be constantly evolving and innovating or we're going to lose people."

Other popular techniques cited in the survey are programs such as Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis (exercises that rely on a cable and pulley system for consistent smooth resistance), tai chi, and meditation.

IDEA World Fitness Convention ran from August 11-14. Rival tradeshows include Germany's FIBO and LA's IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show.