By Robert L. Herron, MA, CSCS*D, ACSM-CEP |
In a little more than two years since COVID-19’s arrival, the fitness industry has evolved to what looks like a sustainable model for the short-term future. The pandemic certainly accelerated the arch of many trends that will be discussed below. As has become tradition, the new year is met new trends and a large portion of the population looking to start or “boost” their fitness journey.
The most-recent edition of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2022 highlights how the industry will be shaped going forward (with resources). Each year, the trends are intended to help fitness professional make business-related decisions with respect to what is projected to be popular for clients in the upcoming year – 2022.
The #1 fitness trend for 2022 is Wearable Technology. Wearable tech regained the #1 spot from Online/Virtual training, which was #1 in 2021. While I believe the downward trend of Online/Virtual training (dropped to #9) is a bit exaggerated, Technology – and specifically Wearable Technology – is here to stay and will only become more ubiquitous and interconnect with every trend listed below (i.e., Mobile Exercise Apps is #16 & Online Personal Training is #17). The consumer market has been flooded by devices and programs that utilize technology. From a business perspective, trainers should look for ways to leverage technology in working with their clientele from a recruitment, assessment, monitoring, and communication standpoints.
On a related note, Home Exercise Gyms has staked its claim at #2 in 2022 and serves as a potential competitor to those that only operate in a brick-and-mortar business model. Time has always been a prominent barrier to exercise adoption and adherence; and now that home-gym equipment has become more affordable and space conscious, home gyms are more appealing to many. However, personal trainers should recognize that the home gym replaces the physical gym not necessarily the coach/instructor/trainer. Successful trainers must evolve to work with clients in a non-traditional fashion.
Trend #3 is Outdoor Activities. There are many advantages to physical activity in the outdoors and this trend has been around ACSM’s list since 2010. It is important that those in the fitness (and recreation) industry continue to leverage outdoor resources (built or natural) to provide a wide range of activities with which people can engage. These activities range from traditional fitness class being held outside to week-long excursions.
Remember the best exercise for clients is one that they will do, consistently. Be prepared to offer what is best for them on their individual journey.
Happy New Year!