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Annual Survey Reveals New #1 Fitness Trend in 2016

by User Not Found | Oct 26, 2015


Nearly 3000 exercise pros predict what you’ll see in fitness next year

INDIANAPOLIS – Are you tracking your running mileage, calories burned or average heart rate using a wearable device? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has announced its annual fitness trend forecast and for the first time, exercise pros say wearable technology will be the top trend in fitness next year. The results were released in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016: 10th Anniversary Edition” published today in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.

“Wearable technology has overtaken activities like body weight training and high-intensity interval training to claim the number one spot in this year’s survey,” 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. “Consumer interest in fitness technology may signal that the low-cost, DIY exercise trend is waning.”

Now in its tenth year, the survey was completed by more than 2,800 health and fitness professionals worldwide, many certified by ACSM, and was designed to reveal trends in various fitness environments. Forty potential trends were given as choices, and the top 20 were ranked and published by ACSM, including a few new additions to last year’s list, one of which rose immediately to the number one spot.

“Tech devices are now central to our daily lives and have changed the way we plan and manage our workouts,” said Thompson. “Wearable devices also provide immediate feedback that can make the wearer more aware of their level of activity and can motivate the user to achieve their fitness goals.”

The top 10 fitness trends for 2016 are:

1. Wearable Technology: includes fitness 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.

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT 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. 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.)

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Functional Fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.

8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.

9. 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.

10. 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.

The full list of top 20 trends is available in the article "Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016: 10th Anniversary Edition.” An infographic of the trends study results is available here.


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