Fun Fitness

Now in its 13th year, the ‘Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends’ is a survey that discusses anticipated trends in the health and fitness market. See what made the list for 2019 and how you can join the movement!

Are you an early adopter of new trends, or steadfast in your allegiance to the familiar? I pose this question because I recently came across an interesting article from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), discussing projected fitness trends for 2019. Now in its 13th year, the ‘Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends’ is a survey that reflects the feedback of over 2000 fitness professionals from across the globe. While I expected the list to be packed with shiny new technology and innovative training methods (those were still there), I was pleasantly surprised at how many simple, yet effective trends emerged in the survey. Let’s take a look at the top ten trends and how you can put them to use in 2019.

The Top 10:

1. Wearable Technology: There’s no doubt about it, wearable tech (think fitness trackers and smart watches) is here to stay. 2019’s top trend enjoyed a reign at number one in both 2016 and 2017, before dropping to number three in 2018. The confluence of improved technology and lowered cost to consumers have helped wearables reclaim the title this time around. Considering the instant biofeedback data available literally at your fingertips, it’s no surprise that wearables have become so popular.

2. Group Training: Group training classes are nothing new, but interestingly this trend only first appeared on the annual list in 2017, charting at number six. In both 2018 and 2019, it was the number 2 trend. The arrival of online group training is helping keep this trend near the top of the list. Add in the myriad of classes that most fitness centers offer (Yoga, spinning, kickboxing, and everything in between), and it’s easy to see why group exercise has carved out a secure place in the fitness landscape.

3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is a form of training that involves short bursts of exercise performed at a high intensity followed by a brief rest. As a result HIIT workouts are taxing, often lasting 30 minutes or less. This type of training has gained a lot of attention over the last few years, and with good reason: It’s a quick, effective way to get in a good workout. However it should be noted that this style of training is not the best option for everyone. The nature of HIIT training may increase the risk of injury, and new exercisers should be weary of overexerting themselves in a HIIT setting.

4. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: “People are living longer, working longer, and remaining healthy and active much longer.” This quote is a perfect encapsulation of the number four trend. As we age, the need for physical activity become more important. Maintaining bone density and muscle mass, for example, are important factors when looking at mobility and independence. Baby Boomers generally have more discretionary funds than younger crowds. As a result, a budding sub-market has emerged. Expect to see more programs, classes, and resources aimed to cater to the fitness needs of older exercisers.

5. Bodyweight Training: I love seeing this break into the top 5, because I’m a huge proponent of bodyweight exercises. Why? They are simple, effective, can be performed just about anywhere, and require little to no special equipment. Pushups, sit-ups, squats and pull-ups are a few of the ‘old-school’ classics. Combine with contemporary favorites like burpees and mountain climbers for a full-body workout anywhere, anytime.

6. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals: The fitness landscape is full of good people with noble intentions to help others along their health journey. But make no mistake, there are also plenty of folks doling out fitness advice that is outdated, misinterpreted, and sometimes just wrong. The fitness market is expanding (think of all the gyms, supplements, home-training devices and video workouts that have popped up over the last few years), which means there is a lot of information to take in. Some is real, some is not, but now more than ever employing credentialed professionals is an important step to ensure that exercisers have guidance that is accurate, up-to-date, and informed by scientific research.

7. Yoga: Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal reported that in 2012, 20.4 million Americans practiced yoga. That number ballooned to over 36 million in 2016. By 2020, we should expect to see over 55 million people practicing yoga in the US alone. There’s no doubt that Yoga has secured a place in western culture, and that’s a good thing. Whether you enjoy the flowing challenge of Vinyasa Yoga, or favor a gentle restorative practice, (or maybe something in between) Yoga’s popularity boom means that there are a variety of styles to fit your preferences.

8. Personal Training: One-on-one personal training has made the top 10 each year since the inception of the ‘Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends’ in 2006. Personal Training, as defined by ACSM, typically includes goal setting, fitness testing, and prescription of individualized workouts. Working in a one-on-one, client/trainer setting is not new, but the methods of delivery are evolving. The advent of online personal training services has done a great deal to increase user accessibility while lowering cost. Just make sure to reread trend number six before choosing an online Personal Trainer.

9. Functional Fitness Training: There’s a road map for every movement goal. If you want to run a marathon, you have to log the miles. If you want to compete in powerlifting, you have to train with heavy weights. If you want to have an easier time picking up a grandchild, pulling the cord on the push mower or grabbing a box from an overhead shelf- functional training may be for you. Functional training uses exercise to improve balance, coordination, strength, and stamina.

From the Mayo Clinic, “Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability. For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair or pick up low objects. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform well in a variety of common situations.”

10. Exercise is Medicine: Exercise is Medicine is an initiative from ACSM that encourages healthcare providers to talk with their patients about physical activity, and to utilize exercise as a treatment option. The EIM program has branched out to include college campuses, including a group at MSU!

Those are top ten fitness trends for 2019 as identified by fitness industry pros. If you enjoy taking on new challenges, you’ll likely have no problem giving one (or more) of these trends a go. If you like to stick with your familiar routine, consider setting a goal to branch out and try a new activity listed here. For additional resources, classes and upcoming events, visit MSU Moves online at

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