Are You Digitally Distracted?
It’s challenging to make a mind-body connection in an era in which 87% of American adults own cell phones (45% of which are smartphones) and other electronic devices such as tablets and e-book readers. In addition to the rings, pings and dings our phones emit, there is the 24/7 news churn. Many of us are on media and screen overload, and unfortunately, it can be to the detriment of our inner peace. When being disconnected or off the grid is cause for anxiety, perhaps something has gone awry. Perhaps this is an alert that technology has gotten the upper hand and we need to rethink our priorities.
This month we are particularly excited to present Shirley Archer’s feature, “Digital Distractions,” which examines whether technology is supporting or threatening our collective well-being. It may be doing both, but we feel this is an important topic to explore in terms of modern health. To think that it’s been just 6 years since the release of the first iPhone—and to see how much our lives have changed because of smartphone technology—is pretty incredible.
As Shirley explains, exercise is suggested as a leading countermeasure to too much media exposure. But as technology creeps into workouts, keeping exercise as a solution rather than making it part of the problem is a new challenge. “To effectively promote health, it’s important to identify when cognitive overload is happening and when to use coping strategies to prevent harm,” she writes. “Fitness professionals can help by understanding this issue, setting policies that foster a safe and effective training environment and providing clients with informed advice. With digital proliferation, we must remind ourselves that the mind is master and that technology is a tool.” Finally, as she eloquently caps this thought-provoking piece by saying, don’t forget that your wisdom and heartfelt personal touch are paramount for inspiring and transforming the lives of your clients.
After a 1-year hiatus, this report is back in its 17th edition. This year’s survey was distributed to the largest sample pool ever and garnered the largest number of responses in its history.
Results bear out that fitness professionals are becoming more specialized, yet more diverse, as the North American population ages and transforms its demographic markers. As in recent years, the programming and services offered clearly underscore a robust personal training and group exercise presence. Respondents report that half of their facilities are also offering mind-body activities—a response to or escape from the digital onslaught we just discussed?
Across the industry, small equipment used innovatively by instructors and trainers to challenge and condition clients remains at the top of equipment trends. Portable and versatile pieces help pros to meet clients’ training needs in settings ranging from large health clubs to clients’ homes. Respondents indicate they are focusing on a multisystem approach, tailoring programs to improve cardiorespiratory, muscular and neuromuscular fitness. They are engineering their programming using little more than their creativity, clients’ body weight and key equipment pieces to get the job done.
We hope you will find the report a useful tool for planning your facility space, adding equipment or for just getting closer to the pulse of what your industry colleagues are doing.
Yours in good health,
Kathie & Peter Davis
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