Fitness bands, smart watches, heart rate monitors and other wearable tech will be the number one fitness trend in 2019. This is according to the November issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. Last year HIIT and group training topped the list.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Now in its 13th year, this is a worldwide survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine. There were 39 possible answers in the 2019 survey, including some potentially emerging trends such as virtual reality. A total of 2,038 responses were received from health and fitness professionals. As in all the previous years, rather than promoting certain products, the survey was designed to highlight new trends that have a positive impact on the industry.
1. Fitness trackers and smartwatches will be hot commodities
Wearable technology has returned to top the charts having lost the #1 spot to HIIT and group training last year. The category first appeared as a fitness trend in 2016. It took the top spot that year and in 2017 before dropping to #3 for 2018. One of the report’s authors, Dr. Walter Thompson, notes that wearables manufacturers “have corrected some monitoring inaccuracies of the past”, hence the return to the top position.
Wearable tech has been around for about a decade. But 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 2019, we expect more focus on coaching and actionable information, more advanced performance metrics and continued development of sensors. Blood pressure monitoring from the wrist and hydration tracking top the list of sensors we could see next year.
2. Exercising together trumps exercising alone
Group training, defined as classes of more than five participants, was rated number two for the second year running. This includes a variety of workout styles, i.e., anything from cardio-based classes and indoor cycling to dance-based classes to step classes.
While this type of exercise has been around for a while, appearing at number 6 it only broke into the top 20 two years ago. 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 a personal trainer.
3. Burn more calories in less time
It seems we continue to prefer quick fitness routines. HIIT has taken the number three spot this year, still popular but down from its top spot last year. The category has been in the top 5 since 2014. This is a type of training that involves a series of high intensity workouts interspersed with short periods of rest. 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. 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. Its best to start slow, though, as it’s quite demanding.
Rounding out the top five were fitness programs for the Baby Boom and older generations, a trend is likely to gain in importance in the coming years, and body weight training. The latter uses the person’s own body weight rather than equipment to provide resistance. Trends dropping out of the top 20 were circuit weight training, sport-specific training and core training. Check out the full list below.
|2||Group exercise training|
|4||Fitness programs for older adults|
|5||Body weight training|
|6||Employing certified fitness professionals|
|9||Functional fitness training|
|10||Exercise is medicine|
|12||Exercise for weight loss|
|13||Mobile exercise apps|
|15||Worksite health promotion and well-being programs|
|18||Licensure for fitness professionals|
|19||Small group personal training|
Dr. Thompson emphasizes the value of the annual survey in identifying industry trends that are here to stay rather than fads.
“While no one can accurately predict the future of any industry, this survey helps to track trends that can assist owners, operators, program directors, and health fitness professionals with making important business decisions,” he concludes.
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