I have written in past posts about the stagnation in global rates of physical activity, this reality, coupled with the substantial evidence base on the positive connection between physical activity and health warrants closer attention. What would it take to move more? What are people’s intentions? Likely plans made around the New Year when gym membership spikes give some indication that people anchor to New Year resolutions but behavior change is hard to sustain as life tends to get in the way. We do know that moving from being sedentary (under 30 mins/day activity) to being active (over 30 mins/day activity) can reduce all-cause mortality by 19%- we currently take pills to minimize this risk!
The American College of Sports Medicine is in their 13th year of surveying fitness trends likely to emerge annually. The survey is circulated electronically to over thirty-seven thousand fitness professionals globally and has a response rate of 6%. The survey examines trends in the following settings; for-profit, community-based, clinical, and corporate fitness entities with an intent to track year on year changes as well as identifying emerging areas of interest.
Wearables continue to dominate fitness trends for 2019 and include heart rate monitors, GPS, and fitness trackers, made by groups such as Garmin and Apple. Group training also remains a popular trend. This model has worked well to motivate people and also create a sense of camaraderie which can support people through periods of low motivation. The third trending area is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), an approach that leverages short bursts of highly intense physical activity typically followed by brief rest. While evidence is still lacking on the benefits of this approach for health and fitness, it remains popular.
Interestingly, mobile apps came in 13th and are often used in concert with wearables. Given smartphone penetration globally use of apps will continue to be embedded into daily life, the potential to support physical activity promotion remains high. Fitness programming for older adults was also a top trend, given the older adult population grows daily, having programming to support healthy aging seems prudent. Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is also a trend and allows fitness professionals to be part of the health care system to promote physical activity recommendations that may accompany a doctor’s office visit for a person who may be at risk for heart disease and diabetes and could benefit from adding 30 min/day to their self-care routine.
Overall the trends point to technology playing an important part in people’s fitness routines; a connection between fitness and health via the EIM movement will hopefully gain even more prominence. Health care systems like Kaiser Permanente and Intermountain Healthcare already ask about physical activity levels as part of routine office visits and will probably foster a deeper connection between activity and health. Will we see any upward movement in global activity rates as a result of these trends? Time will tell…
Thanks for reading – Trina
(Opinions are my own)