Fitness: What are the main trends for 2024?

Yoga is a perennial favorite, even if it doesn’t always make the top 10, but at number one is wearable technology like smartwatches.

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At the end of each December, the American College of Sports Medicine predicts the top 20 fitness trends for the coming year. In addition to offering insights into what’s on the immediate horizon, the list also provides context for how fitness trends are evolving over time, including the pandemic years when most fitness and recreational facilities were closed. or operated with restrictions.

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The ACSM creates its annual forecast by compiling a long list of trends based on a review of the past year. The list is then sent to fitness professionals, who rank the trends based on popularity. The first set of predictions was published in 2006 for 2007. Over the ensuing 17 years, some physical activities have performed, while others can be counted on to find a place in the top 20 year after year.

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Yoga is a perennial favorite, even if it doesn’t always make the top 10. Other activities like functional fitness and circuit training pop in and out of the list. This year, several of the activities that were trending during the pandemic are notably absent, including online training, which was number one in 2021, and home gyms, which came in second place in 2022. This indicates great scale . return to gyms and group exercise, despite several experts suggesting that online fitness is here to stay.

What hasn’t shown a decline in popularity since the pandemic is wearable technology. Consistently in the top three since 2016, it’s No. 1 on this year’s list. Smartwatches lead the wearable market, and more and more fitness enthusiasts track their workouts, heart rate, step count, exercise minutes, and sleep in real time, as well as using the data to analyze their performance.

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Consistent with the popularity of digital technology, mobile fitness apps enter the top 10 for the first time in 2024, taking the No. 7 spot. First appearing in 2016, when most apps were little more than counters of steps or calories, today’s fitness apps offer a variety of real-time exercise metrics, as well as timers to facilitate interval training, on-demand fitness classes, sleep and diet trackers, and mindfulness training. .

A surprise at No. 2 is workplace health promotion, which suggests that employees returning to the office are demanding that the workplace be more than just a place to sit behind a desk. Office exercise classes and/or sports leagues, fitness challenges, and healthy lifestyle education are some of the most popular activities that promote a better balance between work and an active lifestyle.

Fitness programming for seniors comes in third. With the last baby boomers reaching retirement age in the coming years, 23 per cent of the Canadian population will be 65 years old by 2030. With active, healthy aging a popular topic among boomers, older adults are demanding more fitness programs tailored to your needs. And since the majority of this population no longer works 9 to 5, gyms and recreation centers will need to offer more daytime programming to accommodate this growing group of athletes.

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Coming down to 20th place is high-intensity interval training, which has remained in the top 10 for the past decade. HIIT has seen a steady decline in popularity since it last held the number one spot in 2018.

For the first time, exercise for mental health has made it into the top 20, at number 8. Hopefully, highlighting the positive role exercise has in mental health will mean less emphasis on exercise as a tool to look good and more as a means to feel good.

Unexpectedly, traditional strength training is very low on the list, at number 17, a prediction that may prove wrong. Fitness professionals have already begun spreading messages about the importance of weight training, especially for older adults. Slowing the gradual loss of muscle mass that occurs with age helps maintain a high level of physical function, which is the key to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle as the decades pass.

Also surprising is exercise for weight loss at number 4. Since it is now possible to lose significant weight with a prescription for any of the new class of weight loss drugs, people are less likely to go to the gym to lose unwanted weight. Hopefully, the message will be conveyed that weight loss is not specific to unwanted body fat, which means valuable muscle will also be lost when the numbers on the scale start to drop.

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That said, the folks at ACSM are encouraged by what they see as the potential for the fitness industry to have an even greater effect on health outcomes, including mental health. “Exercise is medicine” is largely considered the number one benefit of physical activity, and it happens to be number 16 on this year’s list of global fitness trends.

ACSM Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2024

1. Wearable technology
2. Health promotion in the workplace
3. Fitness programs for older adults
4. Exercise to lose weight
5. Reimbursement for qualified fitness professionals (similar to those received for clients of physiotherapists and other health professionals)
6. Employ certified fitness professionals
7. Mobile exercise apps
8. Exercise for mental health
9. Youth athletic development
10. Personal training
11. Lifestyle medicine
12. Outdoor fitness activities
13. Health and wellness advice
14. Functional physical training
16. Exercise is medicine
17. Traditional strength training
18. Data-driven training technology
19. Online Personal Training
20. High intensity interval training

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