As the fitness industry continues to experience the effects of the global Covid pandemic, the introduction of vaccines and other mitigation efforts has had an impact on the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2022, compared with the situation last year.
This is the 16th survey of thousands of health and professionals across the globe, conducted by the editors of ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) Health & Fitness Journal® (FIT). As always, the focus is on industry trends that will have an impact on the industry, rather than passing fads.
The 2022 survey focused on 43 possible trends sent to industry professionals for consideration, featuring the top 25 trends from previous years along with emerging trends identified by the survey editors. Respondents rated each trend with a score between 1 (low) and 10 (high).
No 1 trend
Wearable Technology has returned to the number 1 spot for 2022, indicating an interest in measuring performance and monitoring health. The trend ranges from fitness and GPS trackers to smart watches and heart-rate monitors; these are designed to measure activity such as calories burned and sitting/sleep time, as well as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and more.
No 2 trend
Brand new to the list and straight in at number 2 is Home Gyms. While these existed before the Covid outbreak, the need to reduce outside contact and the rise of online classes has boosted the number of people setting up a gym in their own home – whether a simple space with a few weights or a fully furnished facility with exercise equipment such as treadmills, bikes and multi-gym machinery.
No 3 trend
Another trend boosted by the pandemic is Outdoor Activities, appearing at no 3. This includes exercise classes in a park or other outdoor location, usually led by a personal trainer or fitness instructor, and also solo or group activities such as walking and cycling, which can extend over longer periods, for example, a day-long hike.
No 4 trend
Strength Training With Free Weights has moved up from no 8 in 2021 to no 4. Classes directed by a fitness instructor include the use of free weights, barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and medicine balls. Once the correct use of these weights has been taught, the resistance can be progressively increased to build muscle and strength.
No 5 trend
The trend of Exercise for Weight Loss may have moved up from no 16 last year to no 5 for 2022 because of weight gain caused by changed routines during the pandemic, which people are now looking to address. While diet is also a factor, a personal trainer can help their clients by devising exercise programmes designed to promote weight loss.
The rest of the Top 10
Up to no 6 from no 10, Personal Training has appeared in the Top 10 since the survey began in 2006, indicating that qualified personal trainers are still very much in demand for 1-2-1 client work, whether in-person or online.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has dropped out of the top 5 for the first time since 2014, although it remains in the top 10 at no 7. While popular for achieving fast results from short, intensive training sessions, HIIT is sometimes criticised for potentially increased injury rates.
No 3 in 2021, Body Weight Training is this year at no 8. Designed to develop strength, functional movement and flexibility, body weight training requires little or no equipment, making it ideal for home training, although it is also used as a training method in gym environments.
Down from the number 1 spot to no 9, Online Live and On-Demand Exercise Classes covers both real-time livestreamed workouts and pre-recorded classes. Ideal for those exercising at home, whether in 1-2-1 sessions or group classes.
Finally, at no 10, Health/Wellness Coaching, which has appeared in the top 20 trends (as Wellness Coaching) since 2010. This combines behavioural science with health promotion and lifestyle medicine programmes, usually on a targeted 1-2-1 basis, but also for small groups, and features goal-setting, support and guidance from a coach.
The top 20 for 2023
- Wearable Technology
- Home Exercise Gyms
- Outdoor Activities
- Strength Training with Free Weights
- Exercise for Weight Loss
- Personal Training
- High Intensity Interval Training
- Body Weight Training
- Online Live and On-Demand Exercise Classes
- Health/Wellness Coaching
- Fitness Programs for Older Adults
- Exercise Is Medicine
- Employing Certified Fitness Professionals
- Functional Fitness Training
- Mobile Exercise Apps
- Online Personal Training
- Licensure for Fitness Professionals
- Lifestyle Medicine
- Group Exercise Training
ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal (January/February 2022 edition) features the full article and you can find historic information about previous years’ trends (2013-2021) on our blog site.