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The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has announced its annual fitness forecast for 2016. Leading the way on the trends list is wearable technology, which makes its first appearance in the top spot.

Surprisingly, wearable technology has overtaken both bodyweight training and HIIT training which, according to the lead author of the study Walter R Thompson PhD, is due to the fact that “consumer interest in fitness technology may signal that the low-cost DIY exercise trend is waning”. More than 2,800 fitness professionals worldwide partook in the survey, with the intention of identifying trends in various fitness environments. Survey participants made their top 20 choices from 40 potential trends. Thompson comments that tech devices are now seen as a central element to our daily lives and have also changed the way we plan and manage our workouts. The popularity behind the devices is said to be largely focused on how quickly they can provide immediate feedback and the motivational element of the device, which is said to help individuals achieve those long-term goals much more effectively.

Here is the top 10:

  1. Wearable technology: Includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices.
  2. Bodyweight training: Bodyweight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get ‘back to basics’ with fitness.
  3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity, followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programmes are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
  4. Strength training: Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise programme for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
  5. Educated and experienced fitness professionals:It’s important to keep your knowledge up to date with continuing professional development to ensure you’re offering the best possible service to your clients.
  6. 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 credentials for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
  7. Functional fitness: This is a trend towards using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programmes for older adults are closely related.
  8. Fitness programmes 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 programmes to keep older adults healthy and active.
  9. Exercise and weight loss: In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight-loss programme. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight-loss programmes are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
  10. Yoga: Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilises a series of specific bodily postures practised for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.

Don’t miss our feature in the winter issue of Fitpro magazine, which reviews a number of industry-leading heart rate monitors. This issue will also share insight on the development of fitness listing websites and how they can help both client and instructor. The digital version of the magazine will be available to download on your iPhone and tablet very soon. In case you missed the content from last issue, you can download the FitPro app here: