What the 2020 fitness trends mean for you.

The fitness industry is constantly evolving, so there always seems to be a new piece of equipment in the gym, a new exercise class, or a new way to perform traditional exercises. Some of these become popular enough that they are considered “trends.” Here are the top 10 fitness trends for 2020, compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column this week in the Aiken Standard.


The biggest fitness trend is wearable fitness technology. From activity trackers to heart rate monitors to devices that do both and more, 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!


Next on the list 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 three 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.

Strength training with free weights is fourth, 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. While weight machines can make you stronger, free weights promote bigger improvements and can incorporated into other types of exercise.

Fifth on the list is personal training. One-on-one training can help you learn proper techniques, try new exercises, and keep you accountable. You should look for a certified personal trainer who has experience working with people like youis important, so ask for recommendations and references to get the best match.


Next is Exercise is Medicine, an initiative that aims to get physicians and other health care providers to ask about and promote physical activity in every interaction with patients. Treating exercise like a “drug” that should be prescribed reflects the importance of being active for good health. You should treat exercise professionals as an integral part of your health care team.


Body weight training is next, at number seven. Popular for building strength and endurance with minimal equipment, body weight training focuses 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.


Number eight is fitness programs for older adults. Now that people are living longer, staying healthy and active in old age is a priority for many. Exercise can improve strength and endurance to help people who are recovering from cancer or other chronic illness and allow older adults to enjoy an active lifestyle.


Health and wellness coaching is ninth on the list. Almost everyone knows that they should exercise regularly, eat healthier, reduce stress and get enough sleep. Health and wellness coaches can help you actually do it! Look for a coach who is certified and has experience working with people like you.


Number 10 is certified fitness professionals. You should look for a facility that requires the staff to have quality fitness certifications that involve both education and experience. Certified fitness professionals have the knowledge and skills to help make exercise safe, effective, and enjoyable.


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!

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