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Top Fitness Trends Around the World


High-intensity interval training is the number 1 fitness trend this year, followed by Group Training, according to the annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Wearable Technology, which includes activity trackers and exercise apps, came in 3rd this year – losing some popularity from 2017; when it ranked 1st place.


1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is usually a routine of 30 minutes or less, which involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise with short break periods. This form of exercise helps to burn calories fast; it can be found in different types of workouts and in gyms all around the world.

One of the reasons why this form of exercise is so popular is its practicality – a HIIT routine allows you to follow an effective workout in a few minutes, at home or anywhere you are, and using minimal equipment.

2. Group Training

Group Training comprises fitness classes of 5 participants or more, where instructors lead and motivate individuals of different fitness levels to achieve certain goals. There are many different classes, from aerobics to equipment based and dance classes – and they have been around for many years, but they are certainly thriving and making their mark this year.

3. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology includes activity trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, smart eye glasses; and trending more recently are now smart fabrics and interactive textiles. With technology moving so fast, you are sure to find many tools on offer that can help you to achieve your fitness goals this year!

4. Body Weight Training

People have trained using their own body weight for centuries, but it has been only over the last few years that this form of exercise became popular in gyms around the globe. Usually, body weight training required minimal equipment, making it an inexpensive and practical option for exercising.

5. Strength training

Strength training has been an important fitness trend for years. It’s characterized by the use of weights in order to improve or maintain strength.

6. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals.

The market for fitness professionals seems to be expanding and becoming more competitive, leading to an increasing interest for some degree of industry certification. All around the world, there are third-party accreditations offered for health, fitness and clinical exercise program professionals, as well as registries designed for exercise experts.

7. Yoga

Yoga has kept its place among the top 10 fitness trends in the last few years. What makes Yoga an appealing option for many people, is that it comes in a variety of forms, and it’s usually suitable for any fitness level. Some forms of Yoga are Ashtanga, Power Yoga and Bikram Yoga – also known as hot Yoga.   

8. Personal Training

Personal trainers are a key component in gyms and health & fitness centers. Training with a professional trainer is a good alternative for those looking for a more customized approach to exercise to achieve individual goals. Some personal training sessions can be in small groups, but traditionally they are one-on-one.

9. Fitness programs for older adults

Now more than ever, older adults are retiring healthier than past generations, and seeking options to keep up their fitness. The survey suggests that “health fitness facilities should consider taking advantage of this by providing safe, age-appropriate exercise programs for this once-ignored sector of the population.”

10. Functional fitness

Functional fitness is the use of strength training to enhance people’s ability to perform activities related to daily living. For its nature, it can be similar to fitness programs for older adults, but functional fitness can be for other age groups and it can be used in clinical programs to replicate home activities.


Source: Based on information from the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018, published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Health & Fitness Journal.

© Cigna 2018

The information provided in this article is available for informational purpose only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. References to third-party organizations or companies, and/or their products, processes or services, do not constitute an endorsement or warranty thereof.