The Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2019

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 Atlanta.

“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.”

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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:


  1. 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 other purposes.
  1. 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.
  1. High-intensity 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.
  1. 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 and fit.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 article "Worldwide 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

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