Each year, major fitness organizations survey their members to predict upcoming fitness-related trends. Fads spread like wildfire but have a relatively short lifespan. Think back to the hula hoop, the ThighMaster, and more recently, the Shake Weight and yoga with baby goats. Fitness trends take root and become longer-term influencers. I reviewed the 2019 survey findings of Canadian Fitness Professionals – https://tinyurl.com/y9sfd55m – (of which I am a member) and the American College of Sports Medicine – https://tinyurl.com/y8kz4egh.
While the main purpose of these surveys is to generate more income for fitness professionals (individuals and health clubs) and the organizations themselves, the findings suggest what consumers can expect to see offered by trainers and health clubs in 2019.
Functional fitness is number 1 on the Canadian survey and was number 1 in four of the last five annual surveys. Functional fitness training is and will continue to be popular for midlife and older adults as it focuses on practical exercises that simulate and train the body for the physical activities of daily living, for example, balance, mobility, range of motion, strength and endurance. The aim of functional fitness is not to become a body builder or a sprinter but to be able to perform practical tasks with greater ease such as carrying bags of groceries, going up stairs without fatigue and walking with confidence.
The number 2 trend on the Canadian survey is active recovery which refers to post-workout self-care, for example, stretching and using tools such as foam rollers and therapy balls, or meditating. When you’re in a rush to get to the gym, do your workout and get back to work, it’s easy to overlook active recovery. People are becoming increasingly aware of the physical and mental health benefits of self-care and the importance of taking time to unwind.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) came in third place on both the Canadian and American surveys. HIIT has been a hit in the last few years as busy people often desire an efficient workout that gets the maximum results in minimum time. HIIT involve a series of short bursts of high-intensity exercises (e.g., running or cycling at near-maximum intensity) followed by shorter periods of active recovery (e.g., walking). HIIT can be done in classes or on your own and participants can adapt the intensity to suit their individual abilities.
Senior Fitness or Older Adult Training ranked fourth and fifth place on the American and Canadian surveys respectively. The ageing population is increasing. People want to remain active for as long as possible and look and feel younger. More seniors view fitness as an important component of a comprehensive health care system. Given that Canadian baby boomers’ consumer spending is 66 per cent higher than millennials’ – https://tinyurl.com/ybnlaskg – expect to see continued expansion of fitness programs geared for the older age brackets.
Nutrition ranked fourth on the Canadian survey. Fad diets come and go but sound nutrition is a trend that is predicted to continue. People are realizing that eating healthy on a regular basis complements regular physical activities and is necessary to maintain health and fitness. The concept of mindful or intuitive eating is replacing dieting. Mindful eating means you develop a healthy relationship with food, choosing to eat foods that nourish your body and being aware of and taking time to appreciate the flavours, textures, aromas and visual appeal. Mindful eating means listening to your body’s hunger cues, eating plentifully as opposed to rigid, restrictive or yo-yo dieting, and eating foods that make you feel well.
Wearable technology ranked number 1 on the American survey. Consumers have purchased a billion dollars worth of Apple watches. The tech trend is expected to continue as wearables become more accurate. Various brands of smart watches and more affordable fitness trackers remain popular and hundreds of millions of such devices are expected to sell in North America in the next few years.
Despite the availability and convenience of online technologies such as YouTube exercise videos and live streaming, many people still enjoy exercising with other people and benefit from the motivation and modifications that an in-person instructor provides. Group fitness classes ranked number 2 on the American survey.
Similarly, training with a personal trainer has consistently ranked in the American top 10 trends since the survey’s inception in 2006, as clients benefit from one-on-one goal-setting and tailored workouts.
Trends evolve over time. Find what you like and what works for you, so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle.