Top 5 Fitness Trends to Watch in 2016

For the last 10 years the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the body that helps develop exercise and fitness guidelines for the nation, have conducted an annual survey to find out what trends health professionals are seeing more and more of with regards to fitness and exercise. The results for the 2016 survey are in and here are the top 5 of the 20 emerging health and fitness trends:

1. Wearable technology

Technology is becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives so it makes sense that the top trend for 2016 would fall into this category. Wearable technology includes things such as fitness trackers, smart watches, heart monitors and similar devices that can be used to track activity level, steps, and vital signs. Notable brands include Misfit, Garmin, Jawbone and Fitbit. The Apple Watch is also expected to be a massive contender with business analysts predicting 485 million devices to be sold by 2018.

2. Body weight training

As more people become interested in improving their health, the idea that exercising is limited to running on a treadmill is being thrown out the window. Though body weight training has been around for hundreds of years, improved marketing strategies have made these programs much more enticing. Often requiring minimal equipment, body weight training is also a very inexpensive way for someone way to get exercise in the comfort of their own home.

3. High-intensity interval training

This form of exercise workout, also known as HIIT, has been seeing increasing use over the last few years. HIIT typically involves doing high intensity exercises followed by an equal recovery period of lower intensity exercises. This can be a great help for those with limited time as it means less time needed to exercise to get the same results of a traditional workout. There are still concerns regarding the potential for increased injury rates, so as with any exercise program it is important to speak with a physician before starting HIIT.

4. Strength training

Health professionals have been advocating for strength and resistance training to be incorporated into exercise programs for years, so it’s no surprise that it continues to stay high on the list. Besides preventing loss of muscle mass, strength and resistance training may help decrease body fat, blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Now more than ever we are seeing the public perspective of strength training shift from something meant only for young males into more of a tool to improve health at all ages.

5. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals

As the market for fitness professionals continues to grow and become more competitive, public interest in regulation seems to be expanding. The call for more experienced and certified fitness professionals is increasing as more seek out personal trainers to help with their weight loss goals. Having more regulations on who can offer exercise and fitness advice helps bring credibility to the profession and to the organizations that they are often representing.

For the rest of the 20 upcoming trends or for more information view the article in the ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal here


Thompson, W. R., Ph.D., FACSM. (2015). WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2016: 10th Anniversary Edition. ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal, 19(6), 9-18. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2015/11000/WORLDWIDE_SURVEY_OF_FITNESS_TRENDS_FOR_2016__10th.5.aspx?WT.mc_id=HPxADx20100319xMP

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