In this series of articles we are going to take a look at the top ten fitness trends for 2023 as created for the annual ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) Health & Fitness Journal worldwide survey 
The survey list actually covers 20 fitness trends as collated as part of the survey, but we’re just going to focus on the Top 10 and dive specifically into some background information about the trend, how it can benefit you as a fitness consumer, as a fitness professional and also add some general guidance and / or recommendations.
So here we go… Its Number 8 on the List: Exercise for Weight Loss
In the realm of fitness, a notable trend has gained momentum, heralding the fusion of weight loss regimens with comprehensive exercise programs. This dynamic synergy between physical activity and exercise training, coupled with dietary guidance, has illuminated a promising path to holistic well-being.
Weight loss programs increasingly advocate the integration of exercise into daily routines of caloric control, recognizing the significance of caloric expenditure through physical activity. This unification of fitness and dietary strategies has consistently held a prominent place among fitness trends.
Its ascent began modestly, ranking as low as 18th in 2009, but soon gained prominence, peaking in 2015. In recent years, it has gradually descended on the list, landing at the 16th spot in 2021. However, as society grappled with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequential concerns regarding weight management, 2022 witnessed a remarkable resurgence of the exercise-for-weight-loss movement, securing its position as the fifth most influential fitness trend whilst 2023 saw it come in at number 8.
The history of exercise for weight loss in the fitness industry reflects a dynamic interplay between societal shifts, health concerns, and the evolving landscape of nutrition. Over the years, this trend has responded to the changing lifestyles and health challenges of the population.
One key factor influencing its trajectory has been the rise in sedentary lifestyle diseases. As modern conveniences have led to more desk-bound and screen-oriented routines, health issues related to sedentary behaviour, such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases, have surged. Exercise for weight loss emerged as a countermeasure, addressing the sedentary epidemic by promoting physical activity as an essential component of a healthier lifestyle.
Simultaneously, the fitness industry has adapted to combat the escalating consumption of processed foods. The ubiquity of highly processed, calorie-dense products has contributed significantly to the global obesity epidemic. Recognizing the need for a holistic approach to weight management, exercise programs have become integral to combating the adverse effects of processed diets. The coupling of exercise with dietary guidance and cooking classes has proven effective in promoting not only weight loss but overall well-being.
Moreover, the contemporary landscape is characterised by a population grappling with time constraints. In an era where time is a precious commodity, individuals often find it challenging to prioritise exercise amidst hectic schedules. The fitness industry responded to this challenge by devising efficient and time-effective exercise programs that deliver maximum impact in minimal time. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and other time-efficient workouts gained popularity, catering to the needs of a time-poor population.
Australia, like many developed nations, is grappling with a growing obesity epidemic that poses significant health and economic challenges. The prevalence of obesity has steadily risen over the past few decades, making it a major public health concern. This surge in obesity rates is multifaceted, rooted in a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioural factors.
In Australia, obesity rates have been steadily increasing over the years. According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2017-2018, nearly two-thirds (67%) of Australian adults were classified as overweight or obese. Specifically, around 31% were classified as obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. The prevalence of obesity was higher among men (32%) than women (30%) during this period.
Among children, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was also a concern. In 2017-2018, around 25% of children aged 5-17 were classified as overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is particularly alarming due to its potential long-term health consequences.
One of the primary contributors to the obesity epidemic in Australia is the changing dietary landscape. The increased consumption of highly processed and energy-dense foods, often high in sugars and saturated fats, has become a norm in modern diets. These dietary shifts are compounded by sedentary lifestyles, as technological advancements have led to a decline in physical activity. Australians are spending more time in front of screens and engaging in less physical activity, contributing to an energy imbalance that favours weight gain.
Additionally, socioeconomic factors play a role in the obesity epidemic. Lower-income individuals may face barriers to accessing nutritious foods and opportunities for physical activity, exacerbating health disparities. The food environment, characterised by the widespread availability of inexpensive, calorie-dense options, further complicates efforts to make healthier choices.
Mitigating the risk of sedentary lifestyle diseases involves a multifaceted approach that integrates prudent nutrition choices, dedicated time for exercise, and the establishment of a consistent routine for physical activity. Recognizing the perils of a sedentary lifestyle, individuals are increasingly turning to holistic strategies to fortify their health and well-being.
Central to this preventive approach is the cultivation of nutritional habits that counterbalance the adverse effects of prolonged sitting. Opting for nutrient-dense, whole foods and minimising the consumption of processed items can be pivotal. Incorporating fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into daily meals not only aids in weight management but also provides essential nutrients that support overall health. Nutrition becomes a cornerstone in the battle against sedentary-related diseases, offering a robust defence against the pitfalls of an inactive lifestyle.
However, the equation for a healthier lifestyle is incomplete without the inclusion of regular physical activity. Allocating dedicated time for exercise, even in the midst of busy schedules, becomes paramount. Whether through traditional workouts, brisk walks, or quick, intense sessions like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), consistent movement serves as a potent countermeasure to the sedentary trap. Exercise not only burns calories but also improves cardiovascular health, enhances muscular strength, and fosters mental well-being. It becomes a proactive step toward fortifying the body against the risks associated with sedentary living.
Creating a routine for being active is the linchpin in sustaining these efforts. Establishing habits that seamlessly integrate movement into daily life ensures that physical activity becomes a non-negotiable part of one’s routine. This can include simple practices like taking short breaks to stretch during work hours, opting for the stairs instead of the elevator, or scheduling regular walks. By weaving these activities into the fabric of daily life, individuals create a sustainable and effective defence against the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting.
Combatting the onset of sedentary lifestyle diseases requires intentional and proactive measures aimed at incorporating movement and healthy habits into daily life. Here are actionable steps to help curb the risks associated with prolonged periods of inactivity:
To combat sedentary lifestyle diseases, a holistic strategy is vital, intertwining mindful nutrition, intentional physical activity, and sustainable habits. Insights from the evolution of exercise for weight loss emphasise adapting to modern living. Actionable steps, like transforming workspaces and prioritising movement, empower individuals to actively counter the risks of inactivity, fostering enduring well-being.
Please Note: The information provided in this article are the opinions and professional experience of the author and not all activities are recommended for the beginner or participants with underlying health conditions. Before following any advice or starting any fitness, health and wellbeing journey please consult with an Allied Health Professional and / or General Practitioner.
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