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National Posture Institute (NPI) Survey Report
2017 State of the Industry: Posture, Health, and Fitness Report

2017 State of the Industry: Posture, Health, and Fitness Report

 

The National Posture Institute (NPI) believes that fitness and allied-health/medical professionals should be concerned with proper posture, exercise performance, injury prevention, and education surrounding proper body alignment and exercise. For this reason, the NPI created its yearly state of the industry survey to determine whether professionals are prepared and currently incorporating posture into their practices. NPI’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey will also examine the current state of the industry and explore upcoming trends. We are proud to present this year’s survey.

NPI surveyed personal trainers, physical therapists, physiotherapists, group exercise instructors, athletic/sports performance specialists, P.E. teachers, chiropractors, and other allied-health, medical, and fitness based professionals for its study. The study found the majority of the respondents work as personal trainers and group exercise instructors in settings such as health clubs/fitness facilities, personal training studios, at their client’s homes, medically-based fitness facilities, corporate offices, and Yoga/Pilate studios. The other respondents were comprised of physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, athletic trainers, and other allied health/medical professional who work in similar settings to their counterparts; they work in hospitals, community based facilities (YMCA/YWCA, JCC), college/university recreation centers, and sports performance facilities.

The respondents indicated that they work with clients from varying age groups and backgrounds, from young children (29%) to (80+) older adults (54%). The survey results show that professionals predominantly work with clients/patients between the ages of 30 to 69 who are office workers, corporate executives, stay-at-home professionals, academic/educators, and students.

Based on the survey results, 67% of professionals generally conduct assessments on their clients and 77% said that they conduct posture assessments. Professionals indicated that they predominantly perform other forms of assessments such as body composition, balance/agility, muscular strength, and resting heart rate. Only a few professionals indicated that they don’t perform assessments. In addition, goniometer (flexibility testing), 1 rep max tests, cardiovascular tests, and sit & reach assessments were not performed or were rarely performed.

When asked about corrective exercise programs and corrective exercises for posture related injuries, professionals “sometimes” (58%) administer corrective exercise programs. Respondents perform corrective exercises for posture related injuries and/or deviations “all the time” (45%) and “sometimes” (45%). Additionally, clients/patients “sometimes” inquire about posture and body alignment and 74% of professionals actively discuss the subject with their clients.

According to the survey, 61% of respondents received training on how to conduct and create programs that focus on posture and body alignment while 39% received no training. Respondents indicated that they learned from the National Posture Institute (NPI), personal training organizations, university programs, physical therapy schools, national training associations, yoga schools, and a few other programs. The National Posture Institute was listed as the major source of posture training through the Certified Posture Specialist program and the webinar.

Regarding the most prevalent postural deviations, professionals indicated that forward head posture (FHP) was the most prevalent postural deviation they encountered; rounded shoulders, lower back pain, and combinations of postural deviations and muscular imbalances were also listed.

Professionals indicated that the most common training programs were free weight training, body weight training, yoga, running, commercial strength equipment, and HIIT training. They preferred body weight exercise, free weights/dumbbells, exercise tubing, balance training equipment, stability balls, and foam rollers. The most popular exercises they used for training were squats, lunges, step ups, hip abduction/adduction, hip raises, bicep and triceps curls variations, rows, chest presses, push-up variations, frontal/lateral raises, trunk rotation, planks, and other core stability techniques.

When asked about injury sites, the most prevalent were the lower back, knees, and rotator cuffs. When asked if injuries were more common with particular training programs, 74% said “Yes”. Those respondents indicated that if you performed power lifting, plyometric/explosive movements, free weight training, and running you were more prone to injury.

When asked what steps can be taken to help educate more people about posture and body alignment concerns, professionals suggested more public speaking, increasing discussions about the subject with clients, educating other fitness professionals, increased media coverage, and more courses that touch on the area. Professionals also believe body weight training, functional programs, wearable technology, online training and coaching programs, and more time-savvy workout programs are trends that would impact the industry this year.

Summary

The results show that fitness, health, and allied-health/medical professionals are more aware of posture, body alignment, and exercise selection. They conduct assessments and actively discuss and develop posture programs for their clients/patients. Professionals are working with clients/patients that range from ages 5 to 80+ years old, but are predominantly working with those that range from 30 to 69 years old. Participants indicated that they worked with a wide range of clients/patients, but they predominantly work with office workers, corporate executives, stay-at-home persons, academic/educators, and students.

The study revealed that professionals largely use free weight training, body weight training, yoga, running, commercial strength equipment, and HIIT when working with clients/patients. It is also important to note that forward head posture (FHP) was the most prevalent postural deviation, while the most common injury sites were the lower back, knees, and rotator cuffs. Professionals indicated that if you performed power lifting, plyometric/explosive movements, free weight training, and running you were more prone to injury.

Professionals believe that more can be done to educate others on posture and body alignment by engaging in more public speaking, increasing discussions about the subject with clients, educating other fitness professionals, increased media coverage, and more courses that touch on the area. They also believe that body weight training, functional programs, wearable technology, online training and coaching programs, and more time-savvy workout programs are trends that would impact the industry this year.

Fitness, health, and medical professionals are better able to identify the causes and concerns related to health, posture, and fitness. They must continue to pay attention to the exercise programs and modalities their clients are engaging. The results of NPI’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey shows the industry is shifting. From online training to wearable technology, faster workouts, and all sorts of group exercise classes, it will be important for professionals to continue paying attention to the safety of their clients.

Many agree that we’re still a ways off on our goal for posture related education, but through training programs in combination to addressing the subject during training sessions, professionals can get over this challenge. Without a doubt adaptation is a must, but professionals need to be aware of the issues clients are facing and stay abreast on how to engage them on or offline. 

 
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