Fitness Trends for 2019

This year we are again highlighting top fitness trends for the year. Some of the top trends are continuing from 2018 and some are new in the mix. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annually surveys fitness experts from around the world and below are this year’s top results.
  • Wearable technology
  • Group Training
  • High-intensity interval training
  • Fitness Programs for Older Adults
  • Bodyweight Training
  • Yoga
1. Wearable Technology has continued in a top spot in 2019, reflecting heart rate monitors and apparel that can track vital workout statistics including activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices, smart eye glasses, smart fabrics and interactive textiles. One of the newest offerings is Welt’s smart belt which looks like a regular leather belt but is packed with tech that helps you to monitor your health. This belt communicates with a paired smartphone, delivering information about your current waist size, your daily step count, how many large meals you’ve eaten, etc. Check out these other wearable items.

2. Group Training entails classes led by exercise instructors to motivate and guide participants to their best fitness goals. It continues to maintain a top spot for 2019 and includes traditional group fitness classes and dedicated fitness retail outlets like Orange Theory. Group training also entails the Meetups app providing the opportunity for like-minded fitness individuals to get together in groups outside the class setting and includes activities like running, trekking, climbing, rowing and cycling. These groups provide a social element that inspires and motivates through accountability and engagement for exercising in a group setting.

3. HIIT also continues to maintain a top position and is defined as exercise sessions consisting of a warm up period, then several repetitions of high-intensity exercise separated by medium intensity exercise for recovery, then a cool down period. The high-intensity exercise should be done at or near max heart rate. The medium exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and length of each depends on the exercise. Interval training is known to extend the fat burning metabolism benefit hours after the session is completed. Eric Salvador, NASM, NSCA, head instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City notes that “this after burn effect is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.” Orange Theory and TABATA are versions of HIIT and their popularity continues to increase.

4. Fitness Programs for Older Adults takes the number four spot and reflects workouts catering to the fitness needs of baby boomers and older generations. People are living longer, working longer, and remaining healthy and active much longer. Exercise programs include brand workouts like SilverSneakers and Zumba Gold. In conjunction with the growth in wearable technology, counting steps is also contributing to older adults increasing their fitness activity.

5. Bodyweight Training has made its way to number five on the list and focuses on using one’s own body weight as a resistance tool, against different modalities. The Total Gym is the leader in this category, using one’s own body weight as resistance to perform muscle building and toning exercise against variable gravity levels.

6. Yoga continues to be a dominant class favorite in 2018 in line with society’s continued need for mind body awareness. In addition to traditional offerings of Bikram Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga, new yoga formats have increased interest including goat yoga for animal lovers and beer yoga, well for beer lovers. This also reflects the increase in older adults identifying gentler ways to stay fit.

Another trend for 2019 is home workouts. Total body workouts on the Total Gym, and at home instructor led classes on the Peloton bike or treadmill, are allowing busy folks to get a workout in if they miss the gym. Video and interactive classes provide well rounded workouts that can include inexpensive equipment like weights and resistance bands. It was noted that searches for resistance on Pinterest were up 1913% last year. Bands are the versatile, go-anywhere accessory for customized resistance training — from mobility work and pull-up assistance to banded squats and bench presses.

Another growing trend is taking mindful ownership of self-care. Optimizing sleep, performing mindful movements or exercise taking slow deep breaths, are ways that people are taking better care of themselves. The trend will be to value, prioritize, maximize and optimize our wellness. This trend also includes restorative exercise. Maggie Winzeler, a wellness coach, exercise physiologist and fitness expert notes, “now there's a growing wave of interest in restorative experiences: float therapy (involving sensory deprivation while submerged in a pod), cryotherapy (i.e. cold therapy for soft-tissue ailments), grounding (a form of connecting with nature) and restorative yoga/stretching.”

The self-care concept is also a “diet” trend for 2019, as more people look to mindful eating to keep the weight off; basically, eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. It’s about being fully aware of your hunger and satiated states at all times. On CBS’ Health Watch, it was noted that this trend is moving away from fad-based diets like Keto, Paleo and intermittent fasting, which have limitations on what we eat and when and for those reasons can be difficult to maintain.

Another trend to watch are plant-based diets which is rooted in health, environmental and ethical concerns that will cause people to consume less animal proteins. Restaurants are offering more meatless options, moving beyond veggie burgers to cuisines based on legumes, avocados, beets, kale and other vegetables.

Lastly personal training apps like Aaptiv, an audio-based fitness app which schedules structured workouts with trainers will allow busy folks to get their workouts in when they can’t make it to the gym. Similar apps include Fitbit coach and AloMoves for Yoga.

In 2019 we are giving ourselves permission to take care of ourselves and experience the journey.

Benita Perkins

Benita Perkins – is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.

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