The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released its 15th annual worldwide survey to determine the most popular industry trends as reported by over 4,300 health and fitness professionals.

The top fitness trends for 2022 are:

#1 – Wearable Technology

Wearable technology includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. Wearable technology has been estimated to be about a $100 billion industry. New innovations include blood pressure, oxygen saturation and electrocardiogram.

#2 – Home Exercise Gyms

Home gyms will continue to be a popular alternative to going to a gym as a consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic. People will continue to isolate themselves by staying home and taking advantage of the abundant equipment now available, along with effective on-line classes. Home gyms can use minimal equipment, or expensive treadmills and bikes. This is the first year that Home Exercise Gyms has appeared as a fitness trend.

#3 – Outdoor Activities

Perhaps because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more outdoor activities such as small group walks, group rides, or organized hiking groups have become popular. They can be short events, daylong events or planned weeklong hiking excursions. Participants can meet in a local park, hiking area or on a bike trail typically with a designated leader.

#4 – Strength Training with Free Weights

Previous surveys included a category described as “strength training.” Determined to be too broad a category, strength training was dropped in favor of the more specific free weight training. Free weights, barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine ball classes do not just incorporate barbells into another functional class or activity. Instructors start by teaching proper form for each exercise and then progressively increase the resistance once the correct form is accomplished. New exercises are added periodically, and those begin at the form or movement level.

#5 – Exercise for Weight Loss

Perhaps because of the self-quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting perceived (or real) weight gain, exercise for weight loss made a comeback in 2022. Most diet programs recommend including some type of exercise program into the daily routine of caloric restriction, adding the caloric expenditure of physical activity into the equation. in 2021 the trend ranked at #16.

#6 – Personal Training

Personal training has been a Top 10 Trend since the first published trends report in 2006. Personal training includes fitness testing and goal setting with the trainer working one-on-one with a client to prescribe workouts tailored to the individual’s needs and goals. Personal training may take place in health clubs, in the home, at worksite fitness facilities or online.

#7 – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training programs typically involve short bursts of high intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest or active recovery.

#8 – Body Weight Training

Body weight training programs are all about using the weight of the body as the training modality through a combination of variable resistance and neuromotor movements through multiple planes. Since body weight training requires little to no equipment, it is an inexpensive and functional way to exercise effectively.

#9 – Online Live and On-demand Exercise Classes

One of the big changes within the health fitness industry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic was the temporary closure of clubs around the world forcing innovative delivery of classes.

Virtual online training was first introduced on the annual survey for 2019 and debuted at #3 before dropping to #26 in 2020 when the “virtual” was dropped from the title in favor of the more specific online training. For 2021, online training was the #1 trend. For the 2022 survey, online training was redefined more specifically as online and on-demand exercise classes.

#10 – Health/wellness Coaching

This trend integrates behavioral science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs. Health/wellness coaching uses a one-on-one (and at times small group) approach with the coach providing support, goal setting, guidance and encouragement. The health/wellness coach focuses on the client’s values, needs, vision and short-and long-term goals using behavior change intervention strategies.

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