Top fitness trend for 2020: Wearable tech

The ACSM has released its list of trends to watch out for in 2020.

Wearable tech is the number one fitness trend for 2020. That’s according to the American College of Sports Medicine, who last week released its annual global survey of the top fitness trends for 2020.

Wearable technology includes anything used to monitor your fitness, including fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. It has been number one on the ACSM’s list since 2016, except for a slip to third in 2018’s list.

“Wearable tech has become ingrained in today’s culture, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down,” said Walter R. Thompson, the lead author of the survey and a former president of the ACSM.

“Tech advances have made it easier than ever for users to collect important health metrics and work with fitness professionals and health care providers to improve exercise efficiency, develop healthy lifestyles, manage chronic diseases and, ultimately, increase quality of life.”

Published in the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, the worldwide survey tracks the popularity of fitness trends based on 38 possible options. The survey goes out to more than 3,000 health and fitness professionals around the world and options are ranked on a scale from 1 to 10 on how likely an option is to be a trend. The ACSM has been compiling its list of fitness trends predicted to emerge around the world since 2006.

The survey aims to help the health and fitness industry make important programming and business decisions.

Old standbys and new entrants

Aside from wearable tech’s continued popularity, there are other trends that continue to rank highly.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) maintains its popularity, moving up from third last year to second. HIIT’s appeal lies in the short amount of time it takes to complete for the fitness benefit, often 30 minutes or fewer.

In addition, group training came in third for 2020, down from second place last year, a continually popular way to motivate people to get fit.

Life Fitness and Hammer Strength have been at the forefront when it comes to group training and HIIT, with our bridgerigs, racks and SYNRGY systems providing multiple group fitness options.

Similarly, personal training holds steady in fifth position. The accessibility and flexibility of personal training in the 21st century is key to its success. Exercisers can be coached remotely and kept accountable with regular feedback whether their trainer is based out of a gym or online only. As we noted last year, members of health clubs around the world are relying more and more on specialised programs to benefit them as individuals.

New to the list this year is Training with Free Weights, which has debuted at number four. This is good to see with Life Fitness and Hammer Strength well placed to cater for those exercisers with an interest in training with free weights and accessories.

Cater for the aging population

Two other trends of note have to do with catering for an often-underserved population.

At eight on the fitness trends list is Fitness Programs for Older Adults. Down from fourth last year, this is still a very important trend to take note of. Baby Boomers are now aging into retirement and health and fitness professionals are starting to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.”

As we see more and more research on the importance of exercising well into life, it’s only natural that older adults are wanting to maintain their health and fitness for as long as possible.

Similarly, number six on the list is Exercise is Medicine. A global health initiative by ACSM itself, Exercise is Medicine aims to encourage health care professionals to prescribe physical activity for injury and for exercise to become a standard in healthcare.

The message of these two trends in particular is to make sure the fitness industry caters for this important demographic. Equipment such as the SCIFIT range, which is designed for people of all ages to stay active, and the Life Fitness Circuit Series of strength equipment, are key here.

The top 10 fitness trends

The ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020’s top ten are:

  1. Wearable technology
  2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  3. Group training
  4. Training with free weights
  5. Personal Training
  6. Exercise is Medicine®
  7. Bodyweight Training
  8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults
  9. Health/Wellness Coaching
  10. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals

For more information on the ACSM fitness trends, you can read the full report here.

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