Won’t leave home without your fitness tracker? If so, you’re part of a rapidly growing segment of consumers using technology to collect daily health metrics. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has announced its annual fitness trend forecast and, unsurprisingly, exercise pros say wearable technology will again be the top fitness trend in the coming year. The results were released in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2017” published recently in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.
“Technology is now a must-have in our daily lives. Everyone can easily count steps taken or calories burned using a wearable device or a smart phone,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, the lead author of the survey and associate dean in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “The health data collected by wearable technology can be used to inform the user about their current fitness level and help them make healthier lifestyle choices.”
Now in its eleventh year, the survey was completed by more than 1,800 health and fitness professionals worldwide, many certified by ACSM, and was designed to reveal trends in various fitness environments. Forty-two potential trends were given as choices, and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM.
“Body weight training, high-intensity interval raining (HIIT) and educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals also remained highly ranked on the survey,” said Thompson. “These trends reflect continued strong consumer interest in strength training and functional fitness.”
The top 10 fitness trends for 2017 are:
1. Wearable Technology: includes activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices.
2. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT, which involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, these exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
4. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals. Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM. ACSM is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification organizations in the world.
5. Strength Training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
6. Group Training: Group exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals though intentionally designed group exercise classes. Group programs are designed to be motivational and effective for people at different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals in their classes achieve fitness goals.
7. Exercise is Medicine. Exercise is Medicine is a global health initiative that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients and referring their patients to exercise professionals.
8. Yoga. Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
9. Personal Training. More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
10. Exercise and Weight Loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
The full list of top 20 trends is available in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2017.”