Image source: Fitbit

HIIT and group training top the list of fitness trends in 2018

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) will be the top fitness trend in 2018, followed by group exercises and wearable technology.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

At the start of each year, the American College of Sports Medicine conducts a worldwide survey of top fitness trends. There were 40 possible answers in the 2018 survey and a total of 4,133 responses from health and fitness professionals. Rather than promoting certain products, these annual surveys are designed to highlight new trends that have a positive impact on the industry.

Burn more calories in less time

It seems many of use will of us prefer quick fitness routines in 2018, perhaps because we’re busier than ever. HIIT has taken the number one spot this year, up from number 3 in 2017. Interval training is a type of physical exercise that involves a series of high intensity workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. Or even more simply put, you run, cycle or row fast for a bit, then slow down for a bit.

Serious athletes have long known about the benefits of this type of exercise. It is seen as the ultimate cardiovascular workout. While it’s not for the faint of heart, it works brilliantly at burning fat and is the perfect answer if you want to shake up your fitness routine but don’t have any more time to devote to it.

“HIIT is a worthy way to meet your physical activity guidelines,” said Walter R. Thompson, author of the report and president of the American College of Sports Medicine.

“But there’s a word of caution with that: Anytime you do high-intensity anything, there may be an increased risk of injury.”

If you are not sure about your ability to safely perform this type of exercise, it is best to get a physical exam before embarking on a program.

hiit and group training top the list of fitness trends in 2018 2 - HIIT and group training top the list of fitness trends in 2018
Image source: Fitbit

Exercising together beats exercising alone

The number two spot may surprise you. Group exercise training with minimal equipment will be the second most popular trend according to fitness professionals. This includes a variety of workout styles, i.e., anything from aerobics and bicycles to dance classes. Interestingly, none of the respondents could explain why group training will be so popular.

While this type of exercise has been around for a while, appearing at number 6 it only broke into the top 20 last year. Group training is about more than just the social environment and motivational boost. It also puts the economics of scale to work and is far more affordable than forking out for personal training.

Fitness trackers and smartwatches will still be hot commodities

Wearables will still be popular, but perhaps not as much as last year. The survey places fitness trackers and smartwatches at number three, down from the top spot in 2017.

Essential reading: Wearables and fitness technology to expect at CES 2018

Introduced only a few years ago, there is no shortage of health and fitness gadgets on the market today. We’ve come a long way since counting steps was the goal. More recently, we are seeing the introduction of smart glasses, intelligent garments and biometric headphones. Heading into 2018, we expect more focus on coaching and actionable information, more precise data collection, and continued development of sensors.

hiit and group training top the list of fitness trends in 2018 - HIIT and group training top the list of fitness trends in 2018
Image source: Fitbit

Three new trends found a place on the American College of Sports Medicine top 20 list this year. This includes licensure for fitness professionals, core training and sport-specific training. Falling out of the top 20 are worksite health promotion, smartphone exercise apps, and outcomes measures. Check out the full list below.

2018
1 HIIT
2 Group exercise training
3 Wearable technology
4 Body weight training
5 Strength training
6 Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals
7 Yoga
8 Personal training
9 Fitness programs for older adults
10 Functional fitness
11 Exercise and weight loss
12 Exercise is medicine 
13 Group personal training
14 Outdoor activities
15 Flexibility and mobility rollers
16 Licensure for fitness professionals
17 Circuit training
18 Wellness coaching
19 Core training
20 Sport specific training

Source: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018

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