The American College of Sports Medicine recently released it’s annual report on the top 20 fitness trends for 2017. Below, I’ve noted my favorite 10. (If you’re curious about the rest, you can read the full list for free here).
1. Wearable Technology
Ranked number 1 in ACSM’s survey and on my list, wearable technology is no longer just about a FitBit bracelet or Apple watch. Several companies have now come out with smart fabric and interactive textiles that track everything from heart rate to sun exposure to even exercise form. The apparel tends to be a little on the pricey side, but looks totally awesome. If you’ve tried it, I would love to hear your feedback in the comments!!
2. Strength Training
Ranked number 5 by ACSM, I’ve personally ranked strength training number 2 because it was my first fitness love and it’s benefits are so often overlooked and underrated. Strength training builds strong bones and lean mass, helps burn fat, promotes longevity, and protects against back pain and many chronic diseases. It can also help prevent sports-related and other injuries.
3. Exercise is Medicine
I’ve ranked exercise as medicine as number 3 because health trumps physique any day and is (or should be) the root of all fitness programs. (ACSM ranks this as number 7). Exercise lowers your risk for chronic disease like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. It promotes a general sense of wellbeing and reduces stress and anxiety. Its mood-boosting effects can even fight depression. In my opinion (and disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor and am NOT giving medical advice), exercise is way more effective for non-clinical depression and anxiety than any medication, not only because it doesn’t have the negative side effects, but also because it is truly sustainable.
4. Body weight training, yoga, and outdoor activities
The next 3 trends I ranked together because, let’s face it, they are all awesome. But also, they are somewhat related. Yoga is really a form of body weight training, and both of these modes can be performed just about anywhere including at home and, you guessed it, outdoors!
Body weight training is incredibly effective, not to mention convenient. It recruits multiple muscle groups and joints to maximize calorie burn while building strength and lean mass. Best of all, it can be modified for literally any fitness level.
Yoga is a mind-body exercise that not only builds strength, flexibility, and balance, but promotes relaxation and peace of mind by nurturing physical, mental, and metaphysical connectedness. New forms are popping up too, like aerial yoga and rope wall yoga (similar to aerial yoga, but against the wall). Like other types of body weight training, yoga can be modified for people of all fitness levels and all ages.
Outdoor workouts not only burn more calories than indoor workouts, they also tend to be more fun. There’s nothing like being out in nature, and science has shown that even just 5 minutes outside can enhance mood. Not to mention, you can easily get your daily dose of vitamin D. Many outdoor workouts can be done solo or in groups, and there is a huge variety to meet your preferences, including hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, volleyball, kickball, and other outdoor sports. I’ve even been known to bring my strength training workouts outdoors on occasion.
ACSM ranked body weight training, yoga, and outdoor activities numbers 2, 8, and 13, respectively.
5. Circuit Training and HIIT
I’ve ranked these two highly effective modes of training together because they have a lot in common. Both modes maximize calorie burn in short amounts of time, and are great options for those of us with busy lifestyles or who just need a little more action in our workout routines. They both have all the benefits of strength training with the added bonus of somewhat improving cardiorespiratory fitness. They can also be modified for just about any fitness level. ACSM ranked HIIT as number 3 and circuit training as number 19.
6. Personal Training
Personal training is definitely trending as the benefits of having a trainer are becoming more well-known, including use of proper form and technique, reduced risk of injury, effective progression of workouts to maximize results, and motivation derived from the support and accountability of having a coach. A greater emphasis on exercise science and credentialing have also enhanced the integrity and professionalism of the industry.
Ranked number 9 by ACSM.
7. Small Group Training
Ranked number 14 by ACSM, small group training is definitely a growing trend. I’ve seen more and more of it myself. Training in a group of 2-6 people reduces the cost per person thereby relieving the financial burden that deters many people from one-on-one personal training. It also provides a built in support group and friendly competition to increase the fun factor of working out. Working out together can also nurture the bonds between friends and strengthen relationships (both friendly and romantic!).
What trends are you look forward to most in 2017?? Let me know in the comments!