In late December, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) released the results of its 17th annual fitness trend forecast. The organization produces this annual survey to help the health and fitness industry make important programming and business decisions for the coming year.

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Here then are the top 10 fitness trends expected for 2023: 

1. Wearable technology  

Wearable technology includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices and includes fitness and activity trackers that can monitor heart rate, calories, sitting time, sleep, and much more. Wearable technology has been the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 trend every year since 2016.

An Apple Watch like this one comes with a host of fitness-related features, including a step counter, calorie counter, heart rate monitor, GPS tracking and more.

These devices are used to count steps, monitor heart rates and can track body temperature, calories, sitting time, sleep time and more. Over the past decade, the accuracy of these devices has significantly improved. New innovations on upper end devices include blood pressure, oxygen saturation, body temperature, respiratory rate, and electrocardiogram, among others.

The all-in-one Tonal strength-training system, which is endorsed by Serena Williams and Lebron James, enables people to work out at home.

2. Strength-training with free weights 

Focusing on proper movement and lifting technique, this activity incorporates the use of barbells, dumbbells, and/or kettlebells to improve or maintain muscular fitness by manipulating repetitions, sets, tempo, load, and exercise selection to reach specific muscular fitness goals. People of all ages and baseline fitness levels can benefit from strength-training.

3. Bodyweight training

Think old-school movements like pushups, pullups, chin-ups, dips, planks, burpees and the like. Bodyweight training uses minimal equipment and space, making it an inexpensive and functional way to exercise — one you can even do at home.  

4. Fitness programs for older adults

This is a trend that emphasizes and caters to the fitness needs of baby boomers and older generations. People are living longer, working longer and want to remain healthy and physically active throughout. And as every fitness expert will tell you — it’s never too late to start.  

5. Functional fitness training

With this kind of training, the goal is to improve balance, coordination, functional strength, and endurance in order to improve one’s ability to handle the activities of daily living. These kinds of fitness programs target the muscle groups and skills necessary to carry groceries, do household chores and remain ambulatory and independent.

6. Outdoor activities

This trend first gained momentum during the onset of the pandemic and remains popular. It allows for health and fitness professionals to offer more outdoor activities such as group walks, rides, or organized hiking. Activities can be short events, day-long events, or planned multiday excursions along with so-called “ECO challenges” like stand-up paddleboards, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking.

The popularity of organized outdoor workouts gained momentum after the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

7. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Think quality over quantity. These exercise programs typically involve brief repeated sessions of high-intensity exercise (more than 80% of your maximum heart rate) combined with periods of active rest and/or recovery. High-intensity interval training can be applied to a variety of exercise activities, from weight-training, stair-climbing and cycling to running, swimming, and cardio boxing.  

As always in the new year, many people will be focused on a weight-loss goal that combines diet and exercise.

8. Exercise for weight loss

Weight loss is among the most commonplace New Year’s resolutions so it’s not surprising that folks will choose to start — or intensify — their exercise program for this reason. Of course, combining an exercise program with a healthy eating plan will maximize results. Thus, many people will consult with a registered dietician to construct a nutrition program that meets their needs and lifestyle.   

9. Employing certified fitness professionals

With this trend, the emphasis is placed on the importance of hiring certified health and fitness professionals who have completed educational programs and fully accredited health and fitness certifications. In the last few years, more certification programs have become accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, enabling employers easy access to certification validation through the United States Registry of Exercise Professionals and the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals.  


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