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ACSM Predicts Top Fitness Trends for 2021

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The top fitness trend for 2021, as predicted by the American College of Sports Medicine, won’t likely be much of a surprise considering the year we lived through in 2020.

Online training was predicted to be the top fitness trend for the year, based on a survey of 4,000 health and fitness professionals surveyed by ACSM. 

The results of the survey, published in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal under the title Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2021, identified online training as the top trend for 2021, driven by the ongoing pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every person and industry this year, especially those in health and fitness. It caused fitness facilities to close and restructure services. Plus, the challenges of engaging clients at a distance resulted in the use of some very strategic delivery systems,” ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM-CEP®, lead author of the survey said in a release. “As we deal with the lasting effects of the pandemic, new systems like online and virtual training are critical to ensure the continued physical and mental well-being of people around the world.”

The rest of the top ten trends the survey identified were as follows:

2) Wearable Technology.

3) Body Weight Training.

4) Outdoor Activities.

5) High-Intensity Interval Training.

6) Virtual Training.

7) Exercise is Medicine®.

8) Strength Training with Free Weights.

9) Fitness Programs for Older Adults.

10) Personal Training. 

ACSM’s 15th annual survey of fitness trends hopes to deliver insights and information to fitness professionals to make smart business decisions. While COVID-19 was certainly a factor this year — most notably for the top trend of online training, which jumped 25 spots from last year’s results — the results adhere to previously identified trends as likely to remain strong in the year ahead.

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