1. Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers are becoming more and more ubiquitous and complex. The small devices that we carry around in place of a watch have become more popular, affordable, and feature-packed as the years go by. Gone are the days when you would maybe occasionally see a person with a Fitbit or a Garmin running watch. These days, you see it everywhere. For many people, Fitness trackers have replaced the classic watch as their wrist accessory of choice.
From the vaunted Apple Watch to its more affordable and more fitness-focused smartwatches and fitness trackers, it has never been easier to keep track of step counts, hydration, calorie usage, heart rate, and V O2 max. Many modern fitness trackers are now stylish and can be customizable enough to change watch faces, watch straps, and themes to sync well with the rest of your outfit.
There’s been a flood of features on fitness trackers as well, not only can you measure your heart rate, steps, and estimate caloric usage, but many fitness trackers and watches can also help you understand your sleeping patterns, and quality of sleep as well as your efficiency when exercising. With the technology being further developed, expect to see more and more trackers as part of fitness trends for 2022.
Back in 2015, Time Magazine forecasted that fitness trackers are here to stay. (1) And as time goes on it looks like they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
2. Outdoor Workouts
Due to the world still reeling from the effects of the Coronavirus, fitness enthusiasts look for activities that can be done more outdoors. During the pandemic, there has been a marked increase in body weight training in parks, hiking, skating, and other outdoor activities. It looks like people just wanted to go out and not be confined to the four corners of fitness facilities after being in quarantine and locked down for so long.
A lot of us have rekindled our love for an outdoor exercise, whether it be at a public park with monkey bars and other equipment or at a home-made obstacle course right in your backyard, people have had a hankering for the feeling of the sun and the wind on their face.
It depends on what outdoor activity you plan on engaging with but you do not need much by way of equipment to get started, park workouts, running, and hiking have the lowest barriers to entry while skating requires significantly more investments in terms of the equipment required. The great thing is that everything can be bought online these days so you should have no trouble in the equipment category.
3. Low-Impact Exercises
The Internet is rife with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as a way to exercise. But there can be a risk of over-training or not allowing your body enough rest. These days, more and more people are opting for less taxing means of exercise either because of injuries or to avoid the risk of arthritis, knee pain, rhabdomyolysis, and other overtraining-related injuries.
As an alternative, people have sought out more low-impact exercises. Low Impact Exercises, as the name suggests are less taxing workouts that do not overtrain your muscles and cause long-term fatigue, they are less taxing on the joints and when coupled with a proper warm-up and cooldown exercises are relatively safe and injury-free.
Workouts like rowing, yoga, and Pilates are perfect for strengthening but are much less harsh on the body. More and more people appreciate having a functional level of strength, endurance, and cardiovascular stamina. Because of this, low impact but effective workouts will continue to be a fitness trend.
4. Holistic Fitness
According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health by gaining proper balance in life. Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.
Moving into 2022, fitness professionals will likely continue to focus on holistic fitness programs and mind-body practices.
After the collective experiences of the past few years since the start of the pandemic, mental health has been given the limelight so to speak. More people have become open to recognizing and talking about their mental health, their stress, anxiety, and issues. And as more people recognize these issues within themselves, more people would consider meditation, yoga, pilates, tai chi, jogging, and other forms of exercise that don’t only focus on building muscle or losing weight but rather using physical fitness as a way to attain or improve on their mental wellness.
This trend is evident in the Appstore where you can regularly see apps that include guided meditation and mental and spiritual wellness have become more and more popular since the start of the pandemic. The increased awareness to keep healthier states of mind show no signs of going anywhere any time soon.(2)
5. Inclusivity in the Gym
Inclusivity has become a big buzzword for businesses in the past few years. Businesses do have a responsibility of creating a space that is welcoming for people that come from diverse backgrounds. From the gym policies and environment to the instructors and the equipment, gym owners are responsible not only for cultivating an open environment. Cultivating a diverse and inclusive fitness industry will continue to be an underlying theme for gyms, fitness studios, and even fitness apps. There are more ways than one to become more inclusive.
Inclusivity has been paying dividends for those who made a genuine effort to strive for it so far. In a recent UNESCO chair study of health clubs that were inclusive to people with disabilities, 72% of fitness managers reported increased customer loyalty, and 51% saw their revenues increase.(3) So not only has it increased your possible customer base, but it has also increased customer loyalty for those who genuinely pursue mainstream diversity and universal inclusion as well.
Inclusivity goes beyond mere accessibility. While accessibility allows people to physically get to a location or use a service, Inclusivity means the feeling that that person is welcome, encouraged and at home to stay and use that service or take part in any of the activities.
6. More Supplements
The usage of oral supplements has seen a year-on-year increase and does not seem to have any indications of slowing down. (4) In 2019, the Supplements industry reached an all-time high. (5) During the pandemic there was a huge increase in demand for nutritional supplements across regions all over the world(6) and it was not just the demand for immune-boosting supplements that increased.
These days people take many different supplements for different purposes, some take them to alleviate an illness or a malady, some to increase athletic performance and maximize workout gains while others focus on beauty with a remarkable increase and prevalence of night and morning beauty routines and people sharing theirs on social media. Knowledge regarding nutritional supplements has never been more prevalent.
Online shopping and e-commerce platforms did more than just list these nutritional supplements online, their greater availability and ease of access means that it has never been easier to buy or acquire nutritional supplements even if they were previously unavailable in your region.
Cycling has been around for a long time. During the pandemic, a lot of people took to cycling, not only as a means of transportation or a way to commute but also recreationally. As an activity, it allows people to go outdoors, feel the wind and the sun on their faces and have a good cardio session. For commuters, it is a safe way to get around without putting yourself at risk with public transport, or perhaps a way to save on gas. For enthusiasts who have acquired the joy of cycling, there aren’t a lot of easy replacements for going on long rides, mashing through a mountain trail, or just cruising around the city on your bicycle.
Strava, the popular cycling app has seen an increase from 72 million to 95 million users across 195 countries. With over 2 million new Strava members joining every month and 1.8 billion separate activity uploads and 16 billion miles covered cycling, cycling is poised to be more popular than ever.(7) Programs like Zwift allow for virtual competitions with cyclists all over the world in the comfort of your own home. With over 3 million accounts created and tens of thousands of daily active users, anyone can hop in and scratch their competitive itch by racing with others online.(8)
With the soaring gas prices giving commuters all the more reasons to keep their bike and ditch public transportation and the growing popularity with the help of apps like Strava and Peloton workouts, you can be sure that cycling will keep climbing in popularity
8. Remote Workouts with Trainers
During the pandemic gyms and other fitness, establishments closed up and that left both gym-goers and fitness trainers with not much to do. Gym-goers sought the guidance of their trainers with their at-home workouts over Zoom and this started the trend of remote workouts with trainers doing personal coaching over the internet.
Now while it may have started out as an adaptation to COVID restrictions at the height of the pandemic, people have been coming around to the benefits of remote workouts with trainers. Now coupled with the improvements in technology with the prevalence of home-gym equipment, people who prefer to work out from the convenience of their own home can now take advantage of an online personal trainer. It looks like these workouts are here to stay.(9)
We’ve seen services like FlexIt, an online service (think Uber, but for personal trainers) charge USD 30.00 per virtual coaching session from their wide stable of fitness trainers, from yoga to resistance exercise, physician training, boxing, and pilates. And that is just one of many(10) websites that offer virtual personal coaching or remote workout. There are services that are catered towards a particular gender, a particular type of exercise, like weightlifting, group workouts and activities, or one on one coaching sessions.
Services like these match you up with a trainer based on your specifications, workout options, availability, and health goals. Whether it’s for the ease of use, privacy, convenience, cost, or low barrier to entry, more and more health-conscious people are waking up to the benefits of an at-home, remote workout guided by a physician trainer.
9. Home Gyms
Another trend that received a bump in popularity during the pandemic was the home gym. (11) After the lockdowns people struggled to get their daily workouts in. For those that have never considered working out before, buying home gym equipment and starting at home takes away the stress and hassle that comes with the gym membership.
Home gyms can be for those who abhor socializing, those who simply do not have access to a gym, those who live far from a gym, or those whose work and life schedules do not lend themselves easily to going to a physician gym to train.
Experts believe that the increased popularity of home gym equipment prompted by the pandemic lockdowns is here to stay. (12) And it makes total sense, aside from the ease of use, more and more people are exposed to knowledge on wellness and fitness, people may already have experiences working out and use that to work out at home more conveniently, even absolute beginners may be able to take advantage of remote group fitness classes or virtual personal training in order to get started.
Realtors have taken notice and have decided to upsell houses on the virtue of having enough open space for a gym, or exercise room, or by turning butler’s pantries to smoothie stations. Parks Realtor Amy Pappas agreed the market is demonstrating homeowners want a dedicated gym space.(13)
Everyone knows that the health benefits start immediately after exercising and even short episodes of physical activity are beneficial compared to no activity at all.(14) Breaking up activities during the week or day into smaller chunks of time can be just as beneficial as a long workout session, provided that they are for the same number of minutes.(15) The explosive popularity of short exercises and workouts posted in TikTok and IG stories as well as Facebook Lives and Youtube Shorts is an indicator both of the interest in pursuing shorter workouts and its virality.
Mini-workouts or bite-sized workouts over multiple exercise sessions allow for the flexibility needed in order to balance work, family, and social obligations. Studies have shown that accumulating exercise in short bouts of 10 minutes of activity over the course of the day produces a similar range of results to performing the same exercise in one continuous session.
A lot of people perceive a lack of time as the number 1 reason for not working out. But mini-workouts can consist of 5-10 minutes that may not even require a change of clothes. There are a plethora of activities you can do during a 10-minute workout: Plyometric exercises, static holds, body weight exercises, exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, and crunches. These short exercises require no additional equipment let alone a change of clothes. Because these workouts are short and easy to fit into an existing schedule and could be done virtually everywhere, we see more and more people eschewing long slogs on the treadmill or elliptical and more consistent, shorter work-outs that save time, money and offer similar benefits to a traditional workout routine.
11. Weighted Hula Hoops
Weighted hula hoops are bigger and heavier than traditional hula hoops. It provides similar results to other aerobic activities such as dancing and skipping rope. Recently, this exercise has gained a lot of popularity as a quick, fun, and easy aerobic workout for people who are at home.
Hula hooping may help provide neuromuscular control and posture, essential things in order to have good core strength, balance, and stability. A 2020 study observed that hula hoops improve core muscle activation and lumbar stability. (16) Other studies suggest that using it helps burn abdominal fat and reduce hip and waist measurements. (17) Another study shows that it can increase trunk muscle mass in individuals with obesity, decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and reducing a person’s risk of stroke or heart attack. (18)
Even without the sound medical science backing the usefulness of the workout, men and women alike have taken to Weighted Hula hooping not just because of the novelty of the tricks but because of how fun it is as a workout activity.
12. Exercise is Medicine
Exercise is Medicine or EIM for short is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), is to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere and of all abilities. It is based on a number of studies that list physical inactivity as one of the main contributors to having health problems. It aims to educate physicians and other health care providers about the use and recommendation of Exercise as a solution that becomes part of their disease prevention and treatment strategies.(19)
The movement itself is grounded on science and backed by studies that show physical inactivity as the main contributor to deteriorating health and the underlying cause of numerous chronic conditions, having an array of harmful health effects, even being linked to certain types of cancer.
EIM is an emerging trend in 2021 having ranked the 8th trending fitness phenomenon by ACSM in a survey conducted regarding worldwide fitness trends. (20)