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ACSM Fitness Trends: Top 10 for 2021

ACSM Fitness Trends

ACSM Fitness Trends: An overview of the top trends for 2021, based on a survey of more than 4,300 health and fitness professionals.

ACSM has released its annual report on top trends for 2021, based on a survey of more than 4,300 health and fitness professionals. 

The top ACSM fitness trends for 2021, ranked in order, include: 

  1. Online training
  2. Wearable technology
  3. Bodyweight training
  4. Outdoor activities
  5. HIIT
  6. Virtual training
  7. Exercise is Medicine
  8. Strength training with free weights
  9. Fitness programs for older adults
  10. Personal training

This is the first year online training has ranked No. 1 on the list, with it ranking No. 26 in the 2020 report. “Online training” and “virtual training” were separated in this year’s report, with “online training” being defined as that specifically for at-home or on-the-go fitness experiences, and “virtual training” defined “as the fusion of group exercise with technology offering workouts designed for ease and convenience to suit schedules and needs.” 

Unsurprisingly, outdoor activities also ranked high on the list — a rising trend prior to 2020 but one that grew significantly due to the pandemic. 

In addition, “Exercise is Medicine” remained a top trend in 2021. Throughout the pandemic, many fitness professionals have been further convicted in the important role health and exercise play in preventative healthcare. 

Other significant trends beyond the top 10 include “Mobile exercise apps” such as MapMyRun, Fitness Buddy, Runkeeper, and MyFitnessPal, which ranked No. 12; and “Employing certified fitness professionals,” which ranked No. 13.

“Lifestyle medicine” ranked No. 18, defined by ACSM as “the evidence-based practice of helping individuals and families adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life.” This particular trend appeared in the ACSM survey for the first time in 2020. 

For the full “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2021” report, visit ACMS’s website.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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