Fitness Trends 2018: Old Ways to Stay Healthy Remain Popular

One of the key ways to avoid physical therapy is to do one’s best to stay fit in the first place.

To this end, the American College of Sports Medicine, in partnership with organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) and others, recently published its Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018.

Interestingly, the report makes a strong attempt to differentiate between trends and fads: “The survey was designed to confirm or to introduce new trends (not fads) that have a perceived positive impact on the industry according to the international respondents. By using this survey construct, some of the trends identified in earlier surveys could predictably appear for several years. Likewise, fads may appear but will unsurprisingly drop off the list in subsequent years (some as short as 1 year).”

There’s also some carry over from 2017: “Some new trends from 2017 continue to be supported for 2018 (e.g., HIIT, wearable technology, body weight training, and educated and certified health fitness professionals), whereas others failed to make the top 20 trends (worksite health promotion, smartphone apps, outcomes measurements, worker incentive programs, exercise programs specifically for overweight and obese children, balance training, boot camp, indoor cycling, Pilates, running clubs, water workouts, stability ball, and cardio dance classes).”

Top trends include:

1. High-intensity interval training. “HIIT 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).”

2. Group training. “Group exercise instructors teach, lead, and motivate individuals through intentionally designed larger group exercise classes (more than five or it would be group personal training). Group programs are designed to be effective sessions for different fitness levels and are motivational with instructors having leadership techniques that help individuals in their classes achieve fitness goals.”

6. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals. “Falling to number 3 in 2015, to number 5 in 2016, and back to number 4 in 2017, this is a trend that continues now that there are third-party accreditations offered by national accrediting organizations for health and fitness and clinical exercise program professionals and a registry designed for exercise professionals.”

8. Personal training. “Professional personal trainers continue to seek the professionalization of their part of the industry…Although there have been some minor variations of personal training (e.g., small groups as opposed to one-on-one), personal trainers will continue to be an important part of the professional staff of health and fitness centers.”

9. Fitness programs for older adults. “There is a growing market of older adults who are now retiring healthier than other generations. Health fitness facilities should consider taking advantage of this by providing safe, age-appropriate exercise programs for this once-ignored sector of the population.”