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By: William G. Rohrer Staff
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) publishes a worldwide survey of fitness trends each year. Using SurveyMonkey® the online survey was sent to 37,075 health fitness professionals. After 6 weeks and 4 additional notices, 2,038 responses were received, here are the top ten trends:
1. Wearable Technology.
Wearable technology includes fitness trackers, smartwatches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices. These devices can track heart rate, calories, sitting time, and much more. Wearable technology first appeared as a fitness trend in 2016. It was the #1 trend in 2016 and 2017 before dropping to #3 for 2018.
2. Group Training.
Group exercise instructors teach, lead, and motivate individuals through intentionally designed, larger, in-person group movement classes (more than five participants or it would be group personal training). For the 2019 survey, the description of this trend was changed from large group training to group training. However, it was only in 2017 that group exercise training made the top 20, appearing at #6, and #2 in the 2018 survey.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
These exercise programs typically involve short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest. Although offered as a possible trend in previous surveys, but not making the top 20, HIIT was #1 in the survey for 2014 and 2018 and has been in the top five every year since 2014.
4. Fitness Programs for Older Adults.
This is a trend that emphasizes and caters to the fitness needs of the Baby Boom and older generations. People are living longer, working longer, and remaining healthy and active much longer. This trend is making a strong return after being in the top 10 since 2007 (when it was the #2 trend) before dropping to #11 for 2017. Last year, fitness programs for older adults was the #9 trend.
5. Bodyweight Training.
A combination of variable resistance bodyweight training and neuromotor movements using multiple planes of movement, this program is all about using bodyweight as the training modality. Bodyweight training appeared for the first time in the trends survey in 2013 (at #3) and was in the #2 position for 2017 and #4 for 2018.
6. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals.
The importance of hiring certified health/fitness professionals through educational programs and certification programs that are fully accredited for health/fitness professionals is more important than ever. Employing certified fitness professionals was a new survey item for 2019 replacing “educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals,” which was determined to be too broadly defined as a survey item.
Yoga has taken on a variety of forms within the past year (including Power Yoga, Yogilates, yoga in hot environments, and others). Yoga first appeared in the top 10 in this survey in 2008, fell out of the top 20 in 2009, but made a great comeback in 2010 (#14) and 2011 (#11) surveys. In 2012, Yoga was #11 on the list, falling to #14 in 2013, and up to #7 in 2015. In 2017, it ranked #8 after occupying the #7 spot in 2015 and #10 in 2016. Yoga was ranked #7 in last year’s survey.
8. Personal Training.
This trend continues as the profession of personal training becomes more accessible online, in health clubs, in the home, and in worksites that have fitness facilities. Personal training includes fitness testing and goal setting with the trainer working one on one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to each client’s individual needs and goals. Since this survey was first published in 2006 (1), personal training has been a top 10 trend.
9. Functional Fitness Training.
This is a trend toward using strength training and other activities/movements to improve balance, coordination, strength, and endurance to improve activities of daily living. Replicating actual physical activities someone might do as a function of their daily routine, functional fitness first appeared on the survey in the #4 position in 2007 but fell to #8 in 2008 and #11 in 2009. It reappeared in the top 10 for 2010 at #7 and in 2011 at #9. In 2012, functional fitness was #10 and in 2013 and 2014 it was #8, #9 for 2015, #7 in 2016, #12 in 2017, and #10 for 2018. Functional fitness also is used in clinical programs to replicate activities done around the home.
10. Exercise is Medicine.
Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is a global health initiative that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of every patient visit and referring their patients to exercise professionals. In addition, EIM recognizes fitness professionals as part of the health care team in their local communities. EIM was the #7 trend in 2017 and #12 for 2018.
For more fitness trends and information about the survey visit journals.lww.com
Thompson, Walter R. 2018. WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2019. December 1. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2018/11000/WORLDWIDE_SURVEY_OF_FITNESS_TRENDS_FOR_2019.6.aspx.
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