ACSM annual forecast, 4,500 health and fitness pros predict what you’ll see in fitness next year
Exercise does a body good. So does sleep. Research indicates that physical activity and sleep contribute to a healthy immune system, which is critical in the ongoing battle with COVID-19. With more people turning to their smartwatch or fitness tracker to monitor exercise and sleep quality, it’s not surprising that more than 4,500 health and fitness pros surveyed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) identified wearable tech as the new top trend in fitness for 2022. ACSM released the survey results in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2022,” published in the January/February issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.
“Tech advances have made it easy for users to collect important health metrics and work with fitness professionals and health care providers to develop healthy lifestyles and increase quality of life,” said ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM-CEP®, lead author of the survey.
Now in its 16th year, ACSM’s annual survey helps the global health and fitness industry make programming and business decisions that affect consumers. This year’s survey assessed 43 potential trends. Notable trends include home exercise gyms debuting at No. 2 and outdoor exercise moving to No. 3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) dropped to No. 7, and online training, now online live and on-demand exercise classes dropped to No. 9 (No. 1 in 2021).
The top 10 fitness trends for 2022 are:
- Wearable Technology: Devices like fitness trackers, smart watches and heart rate monitors that count steps and track heart rate, calories, sitting and sleep time, blood pressure and respiratory rate.
- Home Exercise Gyms: Uses minimal equipment or treadmills and bikes at home for solo or family events.
- Outdoor Activities: Include small group walks, group rides and organized hiking groups. Participants can meet in a park, hiking area or bike trail for short and daylong events.
- Strength Training with Free Weights: Instructors focus on teaching proper form for exercises using barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and/or medicine balls. Resistance progressively increases as correct form is accomplished.
- Exercise for Weight Loss: Using an exercise program in tandem with the daily routine of caloric restriction to lose weight.
- Personal Training: Fitness testing and goal setting with a trainer working one-on-one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to individual needs.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery in a 30-minute (or less) session.
- Body Weight Training: Uses minimal equipment. Not limited to push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
- Online Live and On-demand Exercise Classes: Uses digital streaming technology to deliver group and individual exercise programs online. Available 24/7 and can be a live or prerecorded class.
- Health/Wellness Coaching: Integrates behavioral science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs. A one-on-one and small group approach provides support, goal setting and encouragement.
“The fitness world continues to feel the effects of the pandemic. The more widespread use of vaccinations and our need to get back to a normal lifestyle are definitely reflected in the 2022 trends,” added Dr. Thompson.
ACSM also published a separate article comparing the top 20 fitness trends in North America, Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, Mexico and Spain. The article provides a more global understanding of the health and fitness trends in different regions around the world.
“With ongoing uncertainty from the pandemic, understanding global consumer behavior can help stakeholders create a multi-faceted strategy to drive business growth,” said Vanessa M. Kercher, Ph.D., ACSM-EP®, lead author of the global comparison article and a clinical assistant professor in the school of public health at Indiana University.
The full list of top 20 trends is available in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2022” with key takeaways from the global rankings available in “2022 Fitness Trends from around the Globe.” Resources are available on ACSM.org.