There seems to always be something new in the fitness world. Whether it is a new piece of equipment in the gym, a new group exercise class, or a new way to perform traditional exercises, the fitness industry is constantly evolving. Some of these become popular enough that they are considered “trends,” attracting attention from fitness experts and exercise novices alike.
Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys health and fitness professionals to identify exercise trends for the upcoming year. The 2018 report was published recently, so it is a good time to catch up on the leading fitness trends to look for in the upcoming year. While past lists identified truly new types of exercise or technology trends, this year’s list noteworthy for what isn’t new—some trends seems to be sticking around.
The biggest fitness trend for 2017 is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which uses repeated cycles of short, maximal or near-maximal exercise alternated with short rest periods. These HIIT sessions typically last less than 30 minutes but lead to fitness improvements that exceed those of traditional longer-duration training. Beginning exercisers should note that HIIT training is intense, so starting slow is recommended.
Number two is group training, exercise classes that are led by a trained instructor. Group exercise classes aren’t new, but they are becoming more popular, especially for people who want to try new types of exercise. The group dynamic provides motivation and encouragement and the instructor can teach proper techniques, so these classes are good for beginners and experienced exercisers.
Next on the list is wearable fitness technology, the number one trend from last year. From activity trackers like the Fitbit to heart rate monitors, the newest “wearables” are sophisticated tools for recording your steps per day, distance you run, and calories you burn. Make sure to pick the device that meets your needs… and your budget, as they can get expensive!
Body weight training is next. Popular for building strength and endurance with minimal equipment, body weight training goes far beyond the push-ups and pull-ups you may remember doing in PE class. Now the focus is on dynamic movements to build strength and endurance. This type of training can be done almost anywhere, which is good news for people who are on a budget or want to train at home.
Strength training still ranks highly, at number five, and for good reason. In addition to building or toning muscles, strength training can make everyday activities easier, help maintain bone mass, and promote weight loss. Strength training is often incorporated into other types of exercise, so you don’t necessarily need to “pump iron” to build strength.
Sixth on the list is educated and experienced fitness professionals. You should look for a facility that requires the staff to have fitness certifications that involve both education and experience. Finding a personal trainer or group exercise instructor who has experience working with people like you is important, so ask for recommendations and references to get the best match.
Rounding out the top ten are yoga, personal training, fitness programs for older adults, and functional fitness, all of which have been on the list for some time. While this list does not include every popular or “trendy” type of exercise, it does capture the components of most types of training. CrossFit, for example, is a combination of body weight, strength, and functional training involving high-intensity intervals in a group setting.
Whether you decide to follow a fitness trend or not, make sure you dedicate time every day to be active. Health and fitness will always be trendy!