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2018 Fitness Trends


The new year will undoubtedly bring all sorts of diet fads, new hairstyles, chic clothing and fitness trends. Fitness trends are the most important of the bunch as they can provide the most meaningful benefit, especially if they remain popular across posterity. The end of 2017 and the start of 2018 are slowly revealing some intriguing fitness trends that are either currently spilling into the mainstream or building momentum. Here is a look at some of the top fitness trends to be on the lookout for in the upcoming year.


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Known as HIIT, high intensity interval training is making waves throughout the fitness industry, athletics and beyond. A survey of more than 4,000 physical fitness professionals conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine shows HIIT is projected to be the most popular trend of the new year by a considerable margin. This style of exercise involves rapid bursts of intense exercise followed by brief rest periods that allow for recovery. However, once the heart rate returns to normal or close to it, the next exercise commences. This trend toward a cycle of exercising followed by recovery is consistent with recent findings that show achieving a high heart rate at a moderate to high frequency is better than simply prolonging a high heart rate in an event such as a marathon.

HIIT has been on the rise since 2014. Though HIIT poses a bit more risk than other exercise methods as it is so intense, it will continue to rise in popularity in 2018 and likely across subsequent years. Part of the appeal of this form of exercise is it requires minimal equipment. Just as important is the brevity of a HIIT workout. This exercise program is typically performed in half an hour or less.



Wearable Technology

If you go to the gym or hang out with people who exercise, you might have noticed some wearing fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, smart watches or other wearable technology. These nifty little devices have only been around for a few years, yet they are insanely popular. Tech and fitness industry experts expect wearable technology to continue to spill on over into the mainstream across 2018 and beyond.



Group Training

People are flocking to group exercise classes in droves. Group fitness sessions guide those interested in losing weight or adding muscle through structured exercise classes. The purpose of exercising in a group setting is that it's inspirational and educational. People are much more likely to stick with their workout session and give it everything they have if they are surrounded by other like-minded individuals.

The benefits of group fitness sessions extend beyond camaraderie with fellow participants. The group instructor teaches, motivates and leads the participants throughout each portion of the class. Though group fitness classes have been around for decades, they have not cracked the top 20 of fitness trends until this past year. It will be interesting to watch how group training evolves in terms of offerings and popularity as we move into 2018 and beyond.



Fitness Programs for Senior Citizens

Exercise programs for those approaching their golden years and those entering this delightful time of life are becoming increasingly popular. This is partially due to the fact that the baby boomer age cohort is rapidly entering the retirement years. Plenty of these boomers have amassed nest eggs so they are in a position to spend a considerable amount of money on physical fitness and personal well-being. Fitness facility owners, managers and other industry professionals who develop and implement age-appropriate exercise programs to keep senior citizens active will reap the rewards. Older adults can participate in team sports, strength training, light cardio and HIIT if appropriate.




Yoga is en vogue these days for good reason. This low-intensity exercise is fantastic for the mind as well as the body. This is the perfect form of stress relief for those who are overworked, fatigued and pushed to their limit. Furthermore, yoga stretches out the muscles and in some cases, even lengthens muscles. This is exactly what the stiff body needs after a day of sitting still in a chair and staring into a screen for work. Yoga makes use of an array of breathing exercises, poses and postures to induce relaxation, better balance, bolstered flexibility and enhanced strength. There are all different types of yoga ranging from hot yoga to power yoga, Bikram yoga, Anuara yoga, Vinyasa yoga and beyond.



Personal Training

Take a look at college major statistics and you will notice a sharp uptick in kinesiology across the past couple of decades. Many of these students will become professionals in health fields ranging from coaching in athletics to personal training in fitness facilities. Personal trainers provide highly effective on-on-one training or training in small groups. This is the individualized instruction some need to make the most of the time they spend working out.



Functional Fitness

This fitness trend is gaining steam as more and more baby boomers enter their retirement years and drop out of the workforce. The baby boomers are the second largest age cohort in the United States behind their millennial offspring. Functional fitness makes use of strength training to improve balance and make the challenges of daily life that much easier. This form of fitness is specifically designed for older adults who gradually lose their balance, strength, coordination, endurance and force across the aging process. It centers on replicating the physical movements required for daily functions.

From the perspective of an owner of a physical fitness center, creating and implementing functional fitness classes is a fantastic business opportunity. These classes would likely be held between nine and eleven in the morning and the early afternoon hours when facility traffic is slow. Though senior citizens might not have an abundance of discretionary income, they certainly have enough time to spend participating in functional fitness classes during the late morning and early afternoon hours when other gym members are at work.



Circuit Training

This form of exercise dates all the way back to 1953. It first appeared in the top fitness trends about half a decade ago. Though circuit training is somewhat similar to HIIT, it has enough differences to be considered a unique form of exercise. Circuit training requires the completion of about 10 exercise in succession. Furthermore, these activities are performed in a specific sequence determined prior to the session. Each exercise must be performed for a specific number of repetitions or a specific period of time. Once completed, there is a rest period and a subsequent transition to the next exercise.

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