High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is forecast as next year’s most popular trend in fitness, according to a survey from American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
The fitness trends forecast was released today in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018: The CREP Edition” published in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. The survey is based on a survey of more than 4,000 fitness professionals.
“High intensity interval training has been a consistently high-ranking trend on the forecast in recent years, appearing in the top three since 2014,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, president of ACSM and the lead author of the survey and associate dean in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “Even though survey respondents warned of a relatively higher risk of injury associated with HIIT, it continues to be very popular in gyms across the world.”
Survey respondents shared that some clients are reluctant to participate in HIIT due to perceived risks, and the fitness pros often shared those concerns. So, is HIIT dangerous?
“HIIT offers participants a good workout that can be done without a lot of time or equipment,” continued Thompson. “Research shows that with proper precautions, like working with a certified personal trainer, HIIT can be a safe, effective and fun way to exercise.”
Now in its twelfth year, the survey helps the health and fitness industry make critical programming and business decisions. ACSM expanded this year’s survey to include partner organizations in the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP), and the 4,000 respondents set a record that more than doubled that of previous years.
The top 10 fitness trends for 2018 are:
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, these exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
- Group Training: Group exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals though intentionally designed group exercise classes. Group programs are designed to be motivational and effective for people at different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals in their classes achieve fitness goals.
- Wearable Technology: includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices.
- Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
- Strength Training: Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
- Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals: Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM. ACSM is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification organizations in the world.
- Yoga: Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
- Personal Training: More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
- Fitness Programs for Older Adults. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
- Functional Fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
The full list of top 20 trends is available in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018.”