2016 marks the 10th publication of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Worldwide Fitness Trends. The article can be found at http://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2015/11000/WORLDWIDE_SURVEY_OF_FITNESS_TRENDS_FOR_2016__10th.5.aspx if you are interested in reading it.

Surveys like this can give us clues to what will become popular in exercise and fitness over the coming year. Naturally at this time of year with the focus on change and new beginnings, fitness trends can influence the choices that people make. The top 20 tends for 2016 are

  1. Wearable Technology.
  2. Body weight training.
  3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT).
  4. Strength training.
  5. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals.
  6. Personal training
  7. Functional fitness.
  8. Fitness programmes for older adults.
  9. Exercise and weight loss.
  10. Yoga.
  11. Group personal training.
  12. Worksite health promotion.
  13. Wellness coaching.
  14. Outdoor activities.
  15. Sport-specific training.
  16. Flexibility and mobility rollers.
  17. Smart phone exercise apps.
  18. Circuit training.
  19. Core training.
  20. Outcome measurements.

The ACSM believes that this survey will help the health and fitness industry to make business decisions regarding future growth and direction of the industry. How these trends emerge is often in response to user needs.

A good example of this has been the growth of a “back to basics” approach to fitness and exercise, where clients wanted exercise programmes that did not demand a lot of equipment and expense, largely in response to the worldwide economic downturn. This could be seen in the growth of “bootcamp” style of exercise programmes from 2008 to 2011 and then a gradual decline until the bootcamp trend dropped out of the top 20. It would appear that as the global economy recovers the popularity of bootcamps wanes.

This is also reflected in the top trend of 2016 namely wearable technology. People would seem to be spending more so their training and exercise habits are likely to change. What the survey does not try to do is tell us how effective each trend is. That decision is left to the individual (fitness professional and client). This point is important because a trendy form of exercise does not mean it is an effective one and blindly following trends can lead to a lot of unwanted purchases!

The entries in the top 20 seem to favour circuit training and group fitness classes that deliver a number of training objectives. Wearable technology provides a wealth of real-time data but the real benefit of the technology is how data is used to plan and monitor training programmes.
The 5th entry is probably the most important because a good fitness professional can guide clients to get the most from their fitness programmes and technology. So come and talk to us at Fitness4all if you are still trying to decide what to do.

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