The Top Fitness Trends of 2022
It’s no surprise that the pandemic continues to have an effect on fitness and exercise. This year’s ACSM Top 20 Fitness Trends list is another reminder of that and includes a few twists. The survey, which is released annually by the American College of Sports Medicine, compiles responses from more than 4,500 health and fitness professionals.
The top spot in 2022 is Wearable Technology, which has been in the top three since 2016 and wasn’t much of a surprise considering the extreme popularity of smart watches and activity trackers. But after that, the list gets interesting.
A New Addition
Home Exercise Gyms made its first appearance on the and showed up all the way at No. 2.
According to the ACSM: “Home gyms will continue to be a popular alternative to going to a gym as a consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic. People will continue to isolate themselves by staying home and taking advantage of the abundant equipment now available, along with effective online classes.”
The type of home fitness equipment isn’t specified, but the message about exercisers wanting to work out at home is clear. In 2022, exercisers are willing to spend money to create a workout space in their home.
In a similar vein, Outdoor Activities was third on the list. It appeared in the top 10 for the first time in 2021. This is a category that may also be related to the pandemic, as exercisers feel more secure exercising in a setting that isn’t confined and includes fresh air. Health clubs and trainers can capitalize on this trend by offering more outdoor programming in 2022, especially considering that it has been on the list for consecutive years.
One Surprising Drop
Online Live and On-Demand Exercise Classes was ninth in the 2022 survey. Online Training debuted in the top spot in 2021 but was redefined by the ACSM to be more focused on online and on-demand classes. The specific category plummeted to No. 9 on the list.
“One of the big changes within the health fitness industry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic was the temporary closure of clubs around the world, forcing innovative delivery of classes,” explained the ACSM. “The challenges of engaging clients at a distance resulted in the use of some very strategic delivery systems. Online training was developed for the at-home exercise experience.”
The Struggle of Small Group Training
Group Training was a fixture near the top of the trends list in 2018, 2019 and 2020…but then the pandemic changed everything. Gym closings and limits on social gatherings are likely what pushed Group Training down to the last spot (No. 20) on this year’s list. This training modality has appealing aspects that make it likely for a strong comeback, but that resurgence will have to wait until the outlook for the pandemic improves.
Some Exercise Trends Are Here to Stay
Despite a few plot twists, there’s actually a fair amount of consistency when it comes to what exercisers are looking for. Entries like Personal Training, Strength Training with Free Weights, Body Weight Training and High-Intensity Interval Training remain as constants in the top-10, like they were pre-pandemic. Health clubs and fitness facilities can embrace those evergreen training options and get creative with how they’re offering them to exercisers.
ACSM’s Top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends
- 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