How are your patients planning to get fit this year? Just as importantly,
what might you and your fellow healthcare providers do to stay at your physical
best? An annual survey has predicted the top fitness trends for 2019.
If you won’t leave home without your smart watch, fitness tracker or
GPS tracking device, you’re not alone. More consumers and health and fitness
professionals are using technology to monitor heart rate and collect other
daily health metrics. Not surprisingly, wearable technology is forecast as this
year’s most popular trend in fitness according to more than 2,000 health and
fitness pros surveyed by the American
College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
“Technology is a must-have in our daily lives, and wearable tech can be
an invaluable tool for those looking to get and stay physically active,” said
Walter R. Thompson, PhD, FACSM, lead author of the survey and associate dean in
the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in
“We can easily monitor heart rate, count steps, track calories and
create plans,” he continued. “The data collected by wearable technology can be
used to inform the user and their healthcare team about important daily health
metrics like physical activity, and it encourages healthier lifestyle choices.”
Growing Acceptance of Telemedicine
Besides its expanding popularity, wearable technology’s rise to the top
trend for 2019 may have been fueled by manufacturers correcting monitoring
inaccuracies in the past. Thompson is enthusiastic about the broad impact
wearable tech can have across the population. “From teenagers to seniors, the
growing number of people using wearable technology has never been higher,” said
Thompson. “That means more and more people have fingertip access to tools and
resources that can help them stay active and healthy.”
Now in its 13th year, the annual ACSM survey provided respondents with
39 potential trends from which to choose. The top 20 trends were ranked and
published. Notable trends include group training, which maintained the number
two spot; the continued popularity of high-intensity interval training (HIIT);
a growing emphasis on employing certified fitness professionals and increased
interest in workplace health and wellness programs.
The top 10 fitness
trends for 2019 are:
- Wearable technology. Includes
fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking
devices. Although many of these devices target the consumer market, a
growing number of physicians are incorporating this technology in their practices,
for chronic disease management, monitoring post-operative recovery, and
- Group training. Group
exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals through
intentionally designed, larger, in-person group movement classes. Group
programs are designed to be motivational and effective for people at
different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques
that help individuals achieve fitness goals. This kind of training may be
available at a health center-based fitness facility, private gym or
community recreational center.
interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves short bursts of activity
followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Despite concerns expressed
by some fitness professionals, these 30-minute or less sessions continue
to be a popular form of exercise around the world.
- Fitness programs
for older adults. As baby boomers age into retirement, many health and
fitness professionals are creating age-appropriate fitness programs to
keep older adults healthy and active. The National Institute on Aging
offers a number of tips
for clinicians to encourage their older patients to stay active
- Bodyweight training.
Bodyweight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable than
many other options. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend
allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
- Employing certified
fitness professionals. Hiring health/fitness professionals certified
through programs accredited by the NCCA is more important than ever. ACSM
is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification
organizations in the world.
- Yoga. Based on
ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific body postures
practiced for health and relaxation. The number of possibilities and
variations continues to grow, including Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram,
Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
- Personal training.
With the growing emphasis on increased physical activity, more people are
preparing for careers in personal training. Education, training and proper
credentialing for personal trainers remain important to the health and
fitness facilities that employ them.
- Functional fitness
training. This trend focuses on strength training to improve balance
and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs
for older adults are closely related.
- Exercise is
Medicine (EIM). ACSM’s global health initiative encourages healthcare
providers to include physical activity assessment and
associated referrals to certified fitness professionals in the community
as part of every patient visit.
More information and the full list of top 20 trends is available in the
Survey of Fitness Trends for 2019” published in the
November/December 2018 issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal.
Source: American College
of Sports Medicine
Key Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2019
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