fitness workplace wellness

Fitness Trends 2018: Survey Identifies New Opportunities for Workplace Wellness, Personal Use

As we make our way through the first full workweek of the New Year, it’s still not too late to make health-related resolutions — or to jumpstart the ones you already made but may not yet have begun.

Of course, one challenge with health-related resolutions — especially those associated with fitness — is that they often feel like the same old thing. A new year merits new fitness routines.

To help, the American College of Sports Medicine released its “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends 2018,” which, for the 12th straight year, allows readers to “apply and use worldwide trends in the commercial, corporate, clinical (including medical fitness), and community health fitness industry.”

The authors state: “These annual surveys of health fitness trends in the commercial (usually for-profit companies), clinical (including medical fitness programs), community (not for profit), and corporate divisions of the industry continue to confirm previously identified trends. Some of the trends first identified for 2007 such as educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals (number 6 in 2018) and strength training (number 5 in 2018) have stayed at the top of the list since the first survey was published. Other new trends seem to be emerging for 2018 (number 16 licensure for fitness professionals, number 19 core training, and number 20 sport-specific training) and still others have dropped out of the top 20 (number 21 outcomes measures, number 23 worksite health promotion, and number 26 smartphone exercise apps). Future surveys will either confirm these as new trends or they will fall short of making a sustaining impact on the health fitness industry and drop out of the survey as a trend. Dropping out of the survey may indicate that what was once perceived to be a trend was actually a fad (note that number 22 indoor cycling, number 34 Pilates, and number 39 dance cardio continue to slip as international trends). Wearable technology emerged as a developing trend for 2016 and 2017 but slipped to number 3 for 2018.”

Some of the key fitness trends that might be particularly relevant for workplace wellness programs include:

1. High-intensity interval training. This idea is particularly useful to employees who have limited time for exercise. “HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform (although it is not uncommon for these programs to be much longer in duration).”

3. Wearable technology. “Wearable technology includes activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices, and smart eye glasses (designed to show maps and track activity) that were introduced only a few years ago.”

6. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals. “Falling to number 3 in 2015, to number 5 in 2016, and back to number 4 in 2017, this is a trend that continues now that there are third-party accreditations offered by national accrediting organizations for health and fitness and clinical exercise program professionals and a registry designed for exercise professionals.”

11. Exercise and weight loss. “The combination of exercise and weight loss emphasizes caloric restriction with a sensible exercise program. Organizations, particularly those that are for profit and are in the business of prescribing weight loss programs, will continue to incorporate regular exercise as well as caloric restriction for weight control according to the 2018 survey. The combination of exercise and diet is essential for weight loss maintenance and can improve compliance to caloric restriction diets. Most of the well-publicized diet plans integrate exercise in addition to the daily routine of providing prepared meals to their clients.”

18. Wellness coaching. “Wellness coaching is the integration of behavioral change science with health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation. Wellness coaching often uses a one-on-one approach similar to a personal trainer with the coach providing support, guidance, encouragement, and confirmation when short- and long-term goals are reached. The wellness coach focuses on the client’s values, needs, vision, aspirations, and goals.”