Home Health & Fitness Exercise

2020 Fitness Trends for your New Year’s Resolution

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By Robert Herron, MA, CSCS*D, ACSM-CEP |

New Year – New You.  In an effort to support those that wish to incorporate fitness into their lifestyle in 2020, this article will discuss the Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2020 according to the annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends from the American College of Sports Medicine.  There are plenty of activities and things to help you along your way. 

20.  Children and Exercise – There are a number of relevant subtopics related to exercise (or physical activity) and children.  Of note, the relationship between physical activity and improved childhood health is important on the world’s stage.  Many recognize that society should attempt to provide the best environment in which children can live healthy and active lives.  However, as school systems continue to cut opportunities for physical activity and communities struggle to maintain or develop public infrastructure that provides opportunities outside of school, there has been a steady rise in complex issues in which exercise and physical activity may attenuate.  The World Health Organization (WHO), recommends 60 minutes per day of moderate/vigorous physical activity and some sort of bone and muscle strengthening activity at least 3 days per week for children.   

19.  Outcome Measurements – It is important to set goals, track progress, and make informed decisions.  As such, utilizing tools that provide relevant data are important.  However, taking good measurements can be extremely difficult.  One should be an informed consumer when purchasing products or services used to measure or track an outcome.  Depending on your goals, something as simple as how your clothing fits or as complex and blood analysis can help you along your way.  Working with a certified health and fitness professional can be of assistance in setting Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals (S.M.A.R.T. Goals). 

18.  Worksite Health/Wellness Promotion – Workplace production is at an all-time high but employee wellness is trending down.  As such, it is in the employer’s best interest to actively engage with employees in an effort to promote health and wellness around the workplace.  Likewise, it is wise for employees to take advantage of workplace wellness programs.  Check out some Workplace Wellness resources from the Center of Disease Control

17.  Circuit Training – is a type of exercise training that encourages participants to complete several exercises, that generally target all major muscle groups, in a sequential fashion with minimal rest.  This type of training can be very economical and, if prescribed correctly, can be great for beginners.  Make sure to speak with a fitness professional if you do not know if this is right for you.    

16.  Lifestyle Medicine –  The term may seem unfamiliar to some, but Lifestyle Medicine has to do with changing lifestyle habits that can improve health.  Increasing physical activity is a common lifestyle choice, most related to this list, but ceasing to use Tobacco, making better Food choices, and limiting Alcohol consumption are all fantastic lifestyle choices on their own.  Look for resources and a support system to help you work on making long-term improvement.    

15.  Licensure for Fitness Professionals – This topic is extremely relevant to practitioners and educators in the field.  In short, many places are exploring the requirement of some – or all – fitness professionals to have a license to practice with clients.  The concept is already familiar in nearly all other aspects of health and medicine professions (i.e., physicians, nurses, athletic trainers, etc.).  I would suspect the fitness industry will eventually follow this structure too and it is important for people to follow and engage in these discussions as they develop.

14.  Yoga – Yoga continues to be extremely popular and has evolved to include several different types and ways in which people can participate.  Try different studios in your area, learn more, and find out what you like! 

13.  Outdoor Activities – The great outdoors is, well, great!  Participating in outdoor activities and exercise can be helpful for many people.  Explore your local and surrounding communities.

12.  Functional Fitness – Quality of life is important.  This type of training emphasizes movement patterns that provide mobility, strength, and balance directly applicable to their daily lives and can be empowering to those that participate.  Additionally, this type of training can be tailored to be sport-specific for athletes.   

11.  Exercise for Weight Loss – Exercise, coupled with changes in one’s diet, is helpful in weight loss and long-term weight management.  However, it is important to understand that consistency in exercise and maintaining a healthy diet is key.  Fads do not last. 

10.  Certified Fitness Professionals – Get quality for your money.  While there is no industry standard (see #15 above), it is important that you have a trainer that is qualified on some level.  One can search for qualified professionals in their area on the US Registry of Exercise Professionals

9.  Health and Wellness Coaching – Having someone that is tasked with supporting you can help you reach your goals.  These types of coaching programs can be one-on-one or small group and have shown to be beneficial to many.    

8.  Fitness for Older Adults – The Baby Boomer generation is getting older.  As such, healthy aging has become a priority.  Regular physical activity and exercise assists in longer independent living and mitigates the age-related risks of chronic disease incidence and progression. 

7.  Body Weight Training – Using your body and minimal equipment can serve as the foundation or a welcomed part of a training program.  Read more about how it can be used with clients.

6.  Exercise is Medicine® – EIM is a global-health initiative aimed at encouraging health-care providers and exercise professionals to work together in order to help patients incorporate exercise in their everyday routine and improve health.  Fitness professionals can grow their business by meeting physicians and discussing how patients can be helped by becoming their clients.

5.  Personal Training –Personal training services have expanded to home visits and are part of some worksite wellness programs.  Working with a personal trainer can help jumpstart and keep one consistently engaged in an exercise program (see #10 above).    

4.  Training with Free Weights – A trend that has evolved from “Strength Training”, free weights (i.e., dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, etc.) have increased in popularity.  Fitness facilities now highlight and specialize in free weight equipment.  With proper form and progression, free weights provide a great stimulus for improving fitness. 

3.  Group Training – Not surprisingly, group-exercise class participation is at an all-time high.  With a wide variety of class options and a supportive-group environment, group training will stay popular.  Technology has even put group training in the home with new products like Peloton®.    

2.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – Several gyms, trainers, and trainees are taking advantage of these powerful benefits of a method of exercise training that alternates high physical efforts with lower-effort recovery time periods.  If HIIT is appropriate, this type of training can provide the benefits of high-intensity training while potentially lowering training time, improving enjoyment, and maximizing healthy adaptations. 

1.  Wearable Technology – This returns as #1 again, four of the last five years.  The accuracy

continues to improve as the market share continues to rise.  At an estimated $96 billion industry, phones, watches, camera, and step counters can serve as reminders and track exercise progress over time and even lead workouts.

Robert L. Herron is a faculty member at the United States Sports Academy.  Robert is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® with distinction from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CSCS*D®) and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM-CEP®). rherron@ussa.edu

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