The annual survey of fitness trends released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is now in its 13th year and, as always, there have been some fascinating results.
The global survey is based on information provided by more than 2,000 professionals working in a diverse range of sectors, including personal trainers, managers of sports centres and training providers.
Trends were ranked on a scale of one to 10, with one being least likely to be a trend and 10 being most likely.
If you’d like to look back at previous years, you can search for details of the ACSM top trends for 2013-2018 on our blog site.
The big news for 2019 was the return of Wearable Technology to the number one spot (see our blog on Wearable technology – fun or functional).
The 2019 survey has seen several new trends enter the top 20, including: Worksite Health Promotion and Workplace Well-being, Outcome Measurements, Postrehabilitation Classes and Small Group Personal Training.
The top three fitness trends
The top fitness trend for 2019 was Wearable Technology. This trend was number one in 2016 and 2017 but last year fell to number three before bouncing back to the top spot for 2019. Wearable Technology is useful for tracking everything from heart rate and sitting time to calories burned.
Wearable Technology swapped places with last year’s top trend, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which has moved to number three. This trend has been around for a while now, topping the survey in 2014, showing its ongoing popularity as a training method with personal trainers and fitness instructors (see our blog on How a Personal Trainer can use interval training). This is despite some fitness professionals expressing concerns about possible increased risk of injury associated with this kind of fast, intensive training.
Meanwhile, Group Training has held its place at number two on the list. A distinction has now been made between Group Training, which covers classes such as aerobics, spinning and step, and Small Group Personal Training (which features on the list for the first time at number 19).
Trends four and five
This year’s number four trend is Fitness Programs for Older Adults, which has jumped several places from number nine last year. This trend recognises that many among our ageing population are keen to keep active, whether joining fitness classes or working with a personal trainer.
At five, we have Bodyweight Training, which has slipped slightly in the ratings over the past few years but remains in the top five. Bodyweight exercises can be carried out with little or no equipment, making it an inexpensive option. Often using movements in different planes, it’s a functional option that improves strength and flexibility, and trains subjects to better manage everyday activities.
The rest of the top 10
Trend six has essentially remained the same, although Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals has been renamed Employing Certified Fitness Professionals to provide a more precise definition. As a company offering courses for personal trainers and fitness instructors, CMS is pleased to see the importance of professional qualifications in the top 10 of the ACSM list (see our blog on What qualifications do I need to become a PT?).
Yoga has held its place at number seven on the list of trends. Yoga classes are varied and suitable for a wide range of fitness and ability. As well as developing strength and flexibility, yoga can also help with relaxation and wellbeing (see our blog on Yoga and mental health).
Another non-mover is Personal Training at number eight; a trend that has appeared in the top 10 of the list since 2006, when the first survey was revealed. Working with a qualified and experienced personal trainer remains a popular way for individuals to improve and maintain their fitness.
At number nine this year is Functional Fitness Training, up one place from number 10 in 2018. Functional Fitness Training can cross over with other kinds of training, such as strength training and bodyweight training, as the focus is on improving strength, endurance, coordination and balance in order to better manage the activities we carry out in everyday life, such as carrying shopping or running for a bus.
Finally, at number 10 this year: Exercise Is Medicine (EIM), a global health initiative aimed at health care providers. It promotes the importance of assessing the physical capabilities of patients during medical visits, and recommending exercise with professionals as part of their treatment.
The ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal (November/December 2018) published an article taking a closer look at these results. If you’d like to find out more, take a look at the online Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2019.
The top 20 for 2019
- Wearable Technology
- Group Training
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Fitness Programs for Older Adults
- Bodyweight Training
- Employing Certified Fitness Professionals
- Personal Training
- Functional Fitness Training
- Exercise Is Medicine
- Health/Wellness Coaching
- Exercise for Weight Loss
- Mobile Exercise Apps
- Mobility/Myofascial Devices
- Worksite Health Promotion and Workplace Well-being
- Outcome Measurements
- Outdoor Activities
- Licensure for Fitness Professionals
- Small Group Personal Training
- Postrehabilitation Classes