For many, January signals a renewed commitment to working out or changing up an existing exercise routine. The American College of Sports Medicine has released its annual fitness trend forecast for 2017, compiling results from more than 1,800 health and fitness professionals worldwide from a list of 42 potential trends. The ACSM ranks the top 20; the top 10 were published in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. So if you’re curious about what’s hot at the gym and beyond, here are the top 10 fitness trends for 2017.
1. WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
Wearable technology like Fitbit trackers, smart watches like the Apple watch, heart-rate monitors, and other devices that can track your steps, calories burned, and heart rate, top the list as they did in 2016. Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D. and the lead author of the survey, says, “Technology is now a must-have in our daily lives. … The health data collected by wearable technology helps inform the user about his or her current fitness level and to make healthful lifestyle choices.”
If you don’t want to spend the money on a dedicated wearable fitness device, most smart phones come with built-in apps that track stairs climbed, steps taken, and other data.
2. BODY WEIGHT TRAINING
Unlike weight lifting, and also on the list for the second year, body weight training uses minimal-to-no equipment and focuses on using one’s own
body to get in shape — think push-ups and planks, sit-ups, and squats. Combined with a quickly paced walk or run, body weight training can increase your lean muscle mass and build overall strength.
3. HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
Most of us are short on time yet want to squeeze in a quick, efficient workout whenever we can. HIIT is perfect because it combines short bursts of activity that raise the heartrate quickly with periods of rest or recovery, all in 20–30 minutes. Many Bay Area gyms offer HIIT workouts, including the YMCA, Barry’s Bootcamp, and OrangeTheory Fitness.
4. FITNESS PROFESSIONALS
If you’re looking for a trainer, either one-on-one or at the gym, it’s important to seek out someone who is well trained and experienced and who understands your fitness goals. Look for health and fitness professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, like those offered by ASCM.
5. STRENGTH TRAINING
Weight training whether using free weights or machines is a key part of a well-rounded workout and necessary for all physical activity levels and genders. Especially as we age, it’s critical to incorporate strength training into our routines to help preserve muscle mass.
6. GROUP TRAINING
Many of us need a pro to tell us to lift those dumbbells and do those planks. That’s where group exercise classes come in. If I didn’t go to my favorite strength and conditioning classes at the Presidio Y, my abs would never get a workout. Group exercise classes taught at gyms from the Y and Crunch to the JCC and Equinox are designed to be motivational and effective for people of all ages and fitness levels. A great instructor can make all the difference.
7. EXERCISE IS MEDICINE
A global initiative developed by the American Medical Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, EIM focuses on encouraging primary care physicians and other health care providers to assess patients’ levels of physical activity at every visit and to provide them with counseling to help meet U.S. National Physical Activity Guidelines. Physical inactivity is a leading cause of death and a major risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer.
Stretching, breathing, and mind-body awareness are just as important to fitness as cardio and strength workouts. Yoga is popular worldwide but especially in the Bay Area. Most health clubs offer yoga classes, and there are dedicated yoga studios citywide. Karma Yoga on Union Street opened last fall and offers a variety of yoga and Pilates classes for all levels.
9. PERSONAL TRAINING CAREERS
There are increasing numbers of people, especially recent college grads, who are studying sports medicine and/or kinesiology to prepare themselves for careers in health-and-fitness-related fields such as physical therapy or personal training.
10. EXERCISE AND WEIGHT LOSS
While nutrition and calorie restriction are key components to any weight-loss program, fitness plays a big role, too. Health and fitness professionals are incorporating advice that includes regular exercise into prescriptions for both weight loss and weight maintenance programs.
Finding a workout you love and look forward to will be the most successful way to stay active this year and beyond.
For complete information on the ACSM survey visit journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/pages/default.aspx.