Straight Talk: 2020 Health & Fitness Trends

At Gym Source we pride ourselves on being your trusted resource for fitness information. So when we do our research, we only work with the best in the industry. For the last 14 years, the editors of American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal® surveyed thousands of professionals around the world to determine health and fitness trends for the year.  This journal is the largest-reaching publication of its type and considered the most critical guide to what’s happening in the health and fitness industry.

Here are ACSM’s top 20 health and fitness trends for 2020.

  1. Wearable technology was the #1 trend for 2020. As technology develops, so does our interest in how fitness trackers, smart watches, HR monitors, and GPS tracking devices can optimize our training. Examples include fitness and activity trackers like those manufactured by Fitbit®, Samsung Gear Fit2®, Misfit®, Garmin®, and Apple®.
  2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) These exercise programs typically involve short bursts of high- intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest. They are some of the most effective programs available and we continue to see HIIT as a fundamental part of training.
  3. Group training Defined as more than five participants, group exercise classes are designed to be effective, motivational sessions for different fitness levels with instructors teaching many types of classes and equipment, from cardio-based classes and indoor cycling to dance-based and step classes.
  4. Training with free weights Free weights including barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine ball classes and do not just incorporate barbells into another functional class or activity.
  5. Personal training continues to be a trend as the profession of personal training becomes more accessible online, in health clubs, in the home, and in worksites that have fitness facilities.
  6. Exercise is Medicine® is a global health initiative that focuses on encouraging primary care physicians and other health-care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of every patient visit and referring their patients to exercise professionals. This trend has been steadily on the rise.
  7. Body weight training Using a combination of variable-resistance body weight training and neuromotor movements employing multiple planes of movement, this program is all about using body weight as the training modality.
  8. Fitness programs for older adults This trend continues to stress the fitness needs of the Baby Boom and older generations. For more information about this trend, check out Gym Source’s Active Aging blog series.
  9. Health/Wellness Coaching is a growing trend. It refers to efforts to integrate behavioral science into health promotion and lifestyle   medicine   programs.   Health/Wellness coaching uses a one-on-one (and at times small group) approach with the coach providing support, goal setting, guidance, and encouragement.
  10. Employing certified fitness professionals is a newer trend on the survey. It debuted last year as the no. 6 trend. Hiring certified health fitness professionals through educational programs and certification programs that are fully accredited is quickly becoming an important industry trend.
  11. Exercise for Weight Loss refers to the trend of diet programs incorporating some kind of exercise program into the daily routine of caloric restriction adding the caloric expenditure of physical activity. Exercise for weight loss programs has been a top 20 trend since the survey began.
  12. Functional Fitness Training is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance, coordination, muscular strength, and endurance to improve activities of daily living typically for older adults but also in clinical populations.
  13. Outdoor Activities More outdoor activities such as group walks, group rides, or organized hiking groups are becoming popular. They can be short events, day- long events, or planned weeklong hiking excursions.
  14. Yoga has taken on a variety of forms in the past (including Power Yoga, Yogalates, yoga in hot environments, and many others). On-demand videos and books are plentiful, as are certifications in the many yoga formats. Once thought a fad, yoga is here to stay.
  15. Licensure for Fitness Professionals is a trend in the fitness industry to pursue regulation of fitness professionals such as personal trainers and exercise physiologists.
  16. Lifestyle Medicine This is the evidence- based practice of helping individuals and families adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life. Examples of target patient behaviors include, but are not limited to, eliminating tobacco use, improving diet, increasing physical activity, and moderating alcohol consumption.
  17. Circuit training This appeared for the first time in the top 20 trends at no. 18 in 2013. It is typically a group of about 10 exercises that are completed in succession and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise.
  18. Worksite Health Promotion and Workplace Well-Being Programs This is a trend toward a range of programs and services provided by employers to improve the health and wellness of workers. Worksite health promotion is typically integrated with some form of monitoring system, in order to support the evaluation of and reporting on the effect on health, costs, and productivity.
  19. Outcome Measurements There are efforts to define, track, and report outcomes leading to accountability of both the health club member and the trainer.
  20. Children & Exercise Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity dropped out of the top 20 in 2016 and 2017 but is back this year at number 20.

Want to know more about these 2020 trends and how they can impact or improve your training? Come in to your local Gym Source showroom and talk to any of our expert trainers onsite, or contact us on our website or social media. 

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