In December, various lists of the top fitness trends for the upcoming year appear. Fitness fanatics can look to these to validate what they are already doing, or to discover inspiration for a new activity or two.
Again, this year, we’ve reviewed the most comprehensive annual report from the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) annual survey. Now in its 14th year, the survey asked 3,000 health and fitness professionals worldwide (1,000 more than last year) to choose from 38 potential top fitness trends. While many remain the same year to year, the order often changes.
2020 Top Fitness Trends
- Wearable technology – For the second consecutive year, wearable technology is the No. 1 trend. No surprise, given our addiction to technology and the proliferation of fitness and activity trackers and smart watches that amass voluminous data about how we move and how our bodies respond. We predict this trend is here to stay.
- High-intensity interval training – HIIT has been in the top five fitness trends since 2015. Research continually validates the effectiveness of alternating vigorous intervals with active recovery periods, and it seems that we just can’t get enough.
- Group training – This includes both group ex classes and small group training of more than five participants. There’s tremendous motivation in sweating en masse! As a certified group ex instructor, I get a front row view daily into the compelling value of group training.
- Training with free weights – Described in past surveys as strength training, this more specific category encompasses the popularity of pumping iron with dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. Today’s weight room has evolved way beyond just attracting serious bodybuilders.
- Personal training – A top 10 fitness trend since this survey started, personal training continues climbing the list, which is a win-win both for trainers and for exercisers who progress under their custom guidance.
- Exercise is Medicine – This global health initiative has made the list the past four years, as an effort to more closely unite the health care industry with fitness. It encourages health care providers to assess physical activity as part of each patient visit, and to refer patients to exercise professionals.
- Body weight training – With the popularity of functional fitness, classic exercises that use body weight for resistance – think push-ups, planks, burpees and more – are eternally popular because they don’t require any equipment and can be performed anywhere.
- Fitness programs for older adults – Dropping a few notches from last year’s survey, fitness programs for older adults remains a top fitness trend due to the aging population, the desire and ability to stay active longer and increased longevity.
- Health/wellness coaching – Integrating behavioral science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs, health/wellness coaching is a more holistic approach beyond just physical exercise. It incorporates goal-setting, guidance and encouragement.
- Employing certified fitness professionals – As the industry becomes more sophisticated, with more diverse opportunities, the demand for educated, certified fitness professionals is continually rising to ensure competency.
- Exercise for weight loss – Of course, this trend has been in the top 20 since the survey began. Makes sense, as weight loss is a prime motivator for exercise. This trend includes diet programs that also have an exercise component.
- Functional fitness training – This one has also been a leading trend for years, referring to exercises that favor body weight, free weights and accessories to build balance, coordination, muscular strength and endurance and more. It differs from the traditional training of completing a circuit of selectorized machines or performing basic, single-joint exercises.
For the complete ACSM list of 20 fitness trends, access the article HERE.