The first session I attended Friday morning was a fitness roundtable in which people were split up into three groups: fitness trends, employee training and special events. I sat in on the fitness trends discussion. The three trends brought up were Zumba, Nordic walking and technology trends such as Expresso bikes (which were featured on the show floor) and Wiis.
Just from attending shows and being around Jenn in the office, I am well aware of Zumba, a Latin-based exercise class that features Salsa and Merengue music, but there were more than a few people at the roundtable who had never heard of it. The students at the traditionally conservative University of Richmond have responded well to Zumba, we were told.
(Zumba interlude: The class was created pretty much by accident. Famed celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez forgot his usual music to his aerobics class in Colombia one day in the mid-1990s, so he grabbed the CDs in his car, which consisted of Salsa and Merengue music, and played it in his class. The rest is history. You wonder how Zumba would be different today had ol' Beto been a Barry Manilow fan. Can't you just picture a group of people working up a sweat to "Mandy" and "Looks Like We Made It"? Zumba might have survived if the song was "Copacabana.")
The second trend discussed, Nordic walking, is gaining steam in Colorado. The Finnish-based exercise is great for the outdoors, but you can also do it on an indoor track. You don't have to walk all that fast because the key is pumping those arms. All you need is a set of poles.
Students at Florida State University can't get enough of the Expresso bikes, which have interactive video screens. Florida State has had five of them for only about five months, and there's usually a wait to get on them. One student asked how he could get one for the home. Uh, they're only about $5,000 apiece, he was told.
A Wii is a lot cheaper, and they're thinking about adding one or two at a small school in West Virginia. Anything to get students active, they say.