With all of the New Years Resolutions to get in shape, what not better timing for The ACSM – American College of Sports Medicine – to release its annual report, the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016. So think twice about getting that typical (now thing of the past) boring gym membership, because we picked our favorite trends to be involved in for the year to get those anything but boring abs of steel:
Body weight training.
Appearing for the first time in the trends survey in 2013 (at no. 3) was body weight training, and it had taken over the top spot from last year’s first-time entry, high-intensity interval training. Body weight training did not appear as an option before 2013 because it only became popular (as a defined trend) in gyms around the world during the last couple of years. This is not to say that body weight training had not been used previously; in fact, people have been using their own body weight for centuries as a form of resistance training. But new packaging, particularly by commercial clubs, has now made it popular in all kinds of gyms. Typical body weight training programs use minimal equipment, which makes it a very inexpensive way to exercise effectively. Most people think of body weight training as being limited to push-ups and pull-ups, but it can be much more than that. As the no. 1 position in the survey suggested last year, body weight training is a trend to watch for the future.
Introduced just a few years ago, wearable technology includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices. Examples include fitness and activity trackers like those from Misfit, Garmin, Jawbone, and Fitbit. The newly released Apple Watch® is another example. Some business analysts have predicted that the Apple Watch® will sell more than 485 million devices by the year 2018 (https://www.abiresearch.com/) and that the wearable technology market will approach $6 billion dollars by 2016 (https://technology.ihs.com/). Trending in this part of the industry today include smart glasses, with a predicted $1.5 billion in sales (http://www.juniperresearch.com/home), and smart fabrics and interactive textiles, reaching sales approaching $2.6 billion by 2017 (http://www.strategyr.com/). It seems as though the “back to basics” philosophy of the industry that was driven by the weak economy might be fading.
High-intensity interval training.
Falling from the top spot in the 2015 survey, high-intensity interval training typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform (although it is not uncommon for these programs to be much longer in duration). While being offered as a possible trend in previous surveys but not making the top 20, high-intensity interval training was no. 1 in the survey for 2014 despite the warnings of many survey respondents about potential dangers. Many of the comments claimed that clients liked this kind of program for a short time then were looking for something else, whereas others warned that it was very popular but were concerned with a potentially high injury rate. Others working with clinical populations said that they would like to try it with their patients but would substitute high intensity with moderate intensity. Despite the warnings by some health and fitness professionals of potentially increased injury rates using high-intensity interval training, this form of exercise remains popular in gyms all over the world.
Moving slightly down the list for 2016 is yoga after occupying the no. 7 spot last year. Yoga appeared in the top 10 in this survey in 2008, fell out of the top 20 in 2009, but seemed to make a comeback in the 2010 (no. 14) and 2011 surveys (no. 11). In 2012, yoga was no. 11 on the list, falling to no. 14 in 2013 and up to no. 7 in 2015. Yoga comes in a variety of forms, including Power Yoga, Yogalates, and Bikram Yoga (the one done in hot and humid environments). Other forms of yoga include Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Anuara Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Sivananda Yoga. Instructional tapes and books are abundant, as are the growing numbers of certifications for the many yoga formats. Yoga seems to reinvent and refresh itself every year, making it a more attractive form of exercise.
Outdoor activities often include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and games or sports. Outdoor activities also can include high-adventure programs such as overnight camping trips and mountain climbing. This more recent trend for health and fitness professionals to offer outdoor activities for their clients began in 2010. In that year, “outdoor activities” was no. 25 in the annual survey and, in 2011, it ranked no. 27. In 2012, “outdoor activities” was no. 14 and, in 2013, “outdoor activities” was ranked no. 13; in 2014, it was no. 14; and in 2015, it was no. 12. Outdoor activities can be done with family and friends, with a group, or by yourself. Some personal trainers use outdoor activities as a form of small-group personal training.