SAN DIEGO—Trends related to children and seniors will take center stage in 2007. That’s just two of the fitness trends that the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is predicting for next year based on research and input from its network of certified fitness professionals. Here are the top 10 trends as predicted by the organization.

1. Expanded specialized fitness programming for older adults. A well-balanced fitness program offers many benefits for seniors. It conditions muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones to help fight osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, keeping the body more limber and stabilizing joints to lower the risk of everyday injury and enhance overall quality of life.

2. Small-group training for all age groups. Small-group personal training (usually less than five individuals) continues to grow. Couples, families and friends will look to this option as a way to receive the technical instruction and close supervision of personal training at a more economical cost.

3. A focus on youth programming. Fitness programs targeted toward children will grow as the impact of health status reports regarding the nation’s youth motivate community and program leaders, schools and parents to take action.

4. Personal trainers taking a team approach. Medical doctors, trainers and nutritionists will continue to make the connection that each member of the healthcare continuum can play a vital role in helping to prevent or reverse many of the disturbing health-related trends affecting society.

5. Simple, affordable options and alternatives for workouts. Participants are looking for variety in their workout regimens. Simple walking programs or a “back-to-basics” approach can fit those needs. Moderately intense, daily activity can help prevent illness and prolong life. Home gyms can also be a comfortable and inexpensive place to work out, especially since personal trainers can come directly to the home to offer guidance to inexperienced exercisers.

6. Functional fitness and balance training activities. Exercise programming and equipment aimed at improving individuals’ performance capabilities continue to be among the fastest growing and most popular exercise options. Health clubs are offering balance training programs and classes for virtually all levels and types of participants.

7. The mind and body connect for a complete health and fitness experience. Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi continue to provide an opportunity and an alternative to higher impact activities.

8. The best in personal training from experts in the field have an accredited certification. Personal training is frequently cited as one of the fastest growing professions and consumers are demanding competent practitioners.

9. Accountability and measurement-focused programming. Technological advancements are making it possible to more precisely measure a wide variety of physiological responses and to document training program results. Such documentation will be necessary for insurance reimbursement for fitness services to become a reality in the near future. Consumers are also choosing to use downloadable programs to iPods, PDAs and other portable devices that offer fitness programming with illustrations and/or streaming video.

10. Time-efficient workouts for those with tight schedules. A greater demand exists for group fitness classes and training sessions that are 45 minutes or less. Workouts and exercise programs will continue to respond to the critical need for time-starved Americans to get an effective workout in a short time.