Rarely have the results of the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) global fitness trends survey been as eagerly anticipated as this year. The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the fitness industry around the globe. As a result, it is more important than ever to understand consumer behavior in order to develop strategic approaches for future fitness offerings and drive industry growth. The Corona Crisis has significantly accelerated certain aspects and trends, such as the use of wearables or outdoor activities. Other trends were challenged, such as the success of boutique or particularly low-cost gyms.
Regional differences between trends visible
In the 16th edition of the ACSM Fitness Study, seven regions (Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, Mexico, Spain and the U.S.) again actively participated in the study survey this year. Trends vary from region to region. The current survey evaluated 43 potential trends. Among the notable ones are home gyms, which landed at No. 2 for the first time, and outdoor training at No. 3, while high-intensity interval training (HIIT) drops to No. 7. Online training, which was ranked #1 in 2021, is now down to #9 as online live and on-demand fitness classes.
These are the top 10 fitness trends for 2022:
Devices such as fitness trackers, smart watches and heart rate monitors that count steps, measure and record heart rate, calories, sleep, blood pressure and breathing rate.
2. home gyms
Minimalist fitness equipment, treadmills, fitness bikes for home use alone or together with the whole family.
This includes small group walks, bike rides or hiking groups. Participants meet at the park, nature preserve or bike trail for short sessions or daytime activities.
4. strength training with free weights.
5. training for weight loss
Body weight is to be lost via a controlled exercise program combined with strict restriction of calories.
6. personal training
A trainer provides direct attention to the client and works with fitness testing and specific goal setting to put together an individually tailored workout.
7. high intensity interval training (HIIT)
Short bursts of activity followed by a short rest or recovery period - all in a maximum 30-minute training session.
8. bodyweight training
Requires very little equipment. The trend is not limited to push-ups and pull-ups, but allows you to concentrate on the essentials during your workout.
9. online live and on-demand fitness classes
Group and individual training programs are offered online via digital streaming technologies. Classes can be consumed live or recorded, making them available 24/7.
10. health and wellness coaching.
Includes scientific programs around health promotion, lifestyle medicine. Individual or small group coaching is used to provide support, goal setting and motivation.
Key findings from the study
Online training skyrocketed from 26th place (2020) to 1st place in the trend rankings in 2021. This is pretty clearly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated closed gyms. Workouts have been moved from clubs to the home. In 2022, online training now settles at #9 and this is despite the fact that the Corona crisis is still very much present during the study survey. So we can expect a return to normalcy with more social interaction again.
Wearables take the #1 spot in the global rankings, as they did in 2019 and 2020. HIIT, the number 1 trend from 2014 and 2018 has declined slightly, but remains quite popular at number 7. Gone from the top 20 entirely are trends such as circuit training, workplace health promotion and wellness, and exercise programs specifically for children.
Better quality of life and the need for normality
"Technological advances now make it easy to collect important health data and work with fitness professionals and healthcare providers to develop healthy lifestyles and improve overall quality of life," says ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, lead author of the study. He adds, "The fitness world continues to feel the impact of the pandemic. The increasing prevalence of vaccinations and all of our need to return to a normal life are definitely reflected in the trends of 2022."
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Published on: 18 September 2022