Don’t underestimate the importance of digital technology in the fitness industry. That’s one big takeaway from this year’s American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) list of the top 20 fitness trends to look for in 2019. Every fall, the ACSM surveys more than 2,000 fitness professionals around the world to create the list. Here are a few insights from this year’s survey.
The Importance of Digital
Wearable technology earned the top spot on the survey, after placing third on the 2018 list. That’s a sure sign that fitness professionals realize how technology can help exercisers, and that they recognize that plenty of exercisers are using wearables in their daily routines. Adding to that was the appearance of mobile exercise apps at the 13th spot on the ACSM list. That’s a strong showing for digital-related trends, but not surprising given the massive influence that digital technology has in our daily lives. It’s sends a strong signal to fitness facilities that it’s a really good idea to keep up with technology.
Exercisers Like to Be in a Group
Group training (defined by ACSM as training for more than five participants) was second on the list for the second year in a row. Not surprising, right? What is astonishing is that group training first appeared in the top 20 just two years ago on the trends for 2017 list.
While group training itself is decidedly wide ranging, health clubs can combine it with other entries on the list to create programming that will stay on trend and likely appeal to exercisers.
The popularity of high-intensity interval training (second), bodyweight training (fifth) and functional fitness training (ninth) provides plenty of guidance as to what types of group training should be on the schedule in 2019. Facilities should get creative and mix and match them to entice exercisers.
Don’t Forget Older Adults
Fitness programs for older adults were fourth on the list, a big jump from ninth place last year. This large group of exercisers is certainly making its presence known. Baby boomers are well represented and many of them understand the importance of an active lifestyle. Health clubs should try to incorporate this important demographic into their plans.
Rely on the Professionals
The list also accounts for the importance of putting faith in skilled fitness pros. Employing certified fitness professionals and personal training both made the top 10. Certified trainers provide safe and efficient workout guidance. They can also form connections with their exercisers, which keeps them coming back to the gym. Fitness facilities should make sure they are adequately staffed when it comes to certified trainers.
ACSM Trends for 2019
- Wearable technology
- Group training
- 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 programs
- Outcome measurements
- Outdoor activities
- Licensure for fitness professionals
- Small group personal training
- Post-rehabilitation classes