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Top twenty fitness trends for 2017

The American College of Sports Medicine has announced its annual fitness trend forecast for the coming year. Now in its eleventh year, the survey was completed by over 1,800 health and fitness professionals worldwide.

Top 10

1. Wearable Technology

Claiming the top spot for the second year in a row, wearable technology is still a slightly controversial entry. Although recent studies have suggested fitness trackers may not be as efficient as they seem, fitness professionals still think wearable technology will be big business for 2017. Most people are probably aware of gadgets like activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. However, it’s thought that 2017 could see an increase in the use of smart glasses, smart fabrics and interactive textiles.

2. Bodyweight Training 

Bodyweight training first appeared in the trends survey in 2013 (at number 3) and has remained in the number 2 position for 2017. This trend didn’t appear as an option before 2013 as it only became popular in gyms around the world over the last few years. However, its place at number 1 in the 2015 survey and number 2 last year have suggested bodyweight training is now a trend to look out for in the future.

3. High-Intensity Interval Training 

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) blends short bursts of high-intensity exercise with short periods of rest or recovery. It typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform. HIIT failed to make the top 20 in surveys conducted before 2014,  but the following year it placed in the number 1 spot. Some professionals have warned of the injury risks from HIIT, but that doesn’t stop it being a firm favourite in gyms around the world.

4. Educated, Certified and Experienced Professionals 

More clients are demanding fitness professionals who have studied in their field and have been certified by third-party organisations. Educational programmes and accrediting bodies have seen sustained growth over the last few years. Regulation ensures a quality experience for clients and is a powerful way for fitness professionals to stand out in the crowded and competitive industry.

5. Strength Training 

Strength training remains popular in all sectors of the health and fitness industry. Like many other trends in the top 10, strength training has been a consistent contender since the survey began. Most contemporary and innovative fitness professionals incorporate some form of strength training into exercise routines with their clients.

6. Group Training 

Group training programmes are designed to be motivational and effective for people of different fitness levels. They cover a wide variety of workout preferences. Group exercise training programmes have been around for a long time and have appeared as a potential worldwide trend since this survey was originally constructed. However, this year is the first time group training has appeared in the top 20.

7. Exercise is Medicine 

Exercise is Medicine is a global health initiative that is focused on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients. Back in May, we featured a post detailing the worldwide initiative.

8. Yoga 

Moving higher up the list for 2017 is yoga, after occupying the number 10 spot last year. Yoga has a long history of making it into ACSM’s top 20 trend survey. Its sustained popularity is thought to be down to its versatility. Yoga comes in a variety of forms and is continually being reinvented and refreshed, making it an attractive form of exercise.

9. Personal Training

Since the ACSM’s first survey in 2006, personal training has reliably been included in the top 10. As more and more professional personal trainers are educated and become certified, they are increasingly becoming more accessible in all sectors of the health and fitness industry. Participants in the survey believe that personal trainers continue to be an important part of the professional staff in health and fitness centres.

10. Exercise and Weight Loss 

In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss programme. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programmes are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.

Trends 11-20

11. Fitness Programmes for Older Adults
12. Functional Fitness
13. Outdoor Activities
14. Group Personal Training
15. Wellness Coaching
16. Worksite Health Promotion
17. Smartphone Exercise Apps
18. Outcome Measurements
19. Circuit Training
20. Flexibility and Mobility Rollers

The 2017 survey results reinforce the findings from previous years, which is to be expected when tracking trends and not fads. Some of the trends first identified for 2007, such as educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals and strength training, have stayed near the top of the list since the first survey began. However, missing from this year’s top 20 are core training (number 19 in 2016) and sport-specific training (number 15 in 2016).

Source: ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal

This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health


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