The health and fitness industry is constantly evolving, driven by changing consumer preferences, emerging technologies, and global events. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has had a profound impact on how people approach fitness and wellness. To gain a better understanding of these evolving trends and how they differ across regions, the 2023 Fitness Trends from Around the Globe report was compiled by Vanessa M. (Martinez) Kercher, Ph.D., and other health and fitness professionals from seven regions.
This comprehensive report sheds light on the key fitness trends that are shaping the industry in Australia, Brazil, Europe, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. These insights are invaluable for fitness professionals looking to stay ahead in their careers, offering a glimpse into the preferences and behaviours of consumers in different parts of the world.
The survey, conducted electronically using tools like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms, reached health and fitness professionals through email and social media networks. It spanned 4 to 11 weeks, allowing for a diverse range of responses. While each region considered the 42 trends within ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends, they also identified unique trends specific to their countries.
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2023
The report highlights the top 10 fitness trends for 2023, with “Exercise is Medicine” and “High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)” taking the lead. These trends emphasise the increasing recognition of exercise as a vital component of overall health and the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training in achieving fitness goals.
Regional Differences in Trends
Each region showed variations in their fitness trends, reflecting the unique preferences and needs of their populations. Here are some key insights from selected regions:
- A growing emphasis on fitness programmes for older adults.
- Functional fitness training and strength training with free weights remain popular.
- Pilates and yoga gain traction, possibly due to a focus on mindfulness and self-care.
- Lower reliance on wearable technology and exercise mobile apps compared to the United States.
- Personal training services are a significant source of income for fitness professionals.
- A demand for physical activities that can be done with body weight or accessories in any environment.
- Key trends include online personal training and small-group personal training, presenting opportunities for creative and tech-savvy practitioners.
- A decline in digital services and technology-oriented trends.
- Health-oriented trends, particularly exercise for health and special populations, remain attractive.
- Opportunities exist for in-person programming and content development.
- Boutique fitness studios offering functional training and Pilates are popular.
- Exercise for weight loss is a primary driver of fitness trends.
- Personal training, functional fitness training, and specific sport training consistently top the list.
- Unique trends include specific sport training, prevention/functional readaptation of injuries, and recruiting graduates in related careers.
- Consistent trends in personal training and exercise for weight loss due to a high obesity rate.
- Emphasis on lifestyle medicine, health/wellbeing coaching, and Exercise is Medicine.
- An opportunity to deploy targeted strategies to address obesity.
- Exercise is Medicine makes its debut in the top 20 trends
- A lower emphasis on online fitness activities and wearable technology.
- Fitness professionals in Spain may be less tech-oriented compared to other regions.
Implications for Us
The 2023 Fitness Trends from Around the Globe report offers several insights that can benefit fitness professionals in their careers:
- Customisation: Tailor fitness programmes to cater to the unique preferences and needs of your region. Understanding local trends is crucial for success.
- Diversification: Consider offering a diverse range of fitness services to cater to various demographics. For example, fitness programmes for older adults are gaining traction in many regions.
- Tech Adoption: Assess the popularity of wearable technology and digital fitness services in your region. There may be opportunities to innovate and provide non-tech fitness services.
- Business Strategies: Take cues from trends in personal training and consider innovative business strategies, such as online personal training or small-group sessions.
- Health-Oriented Trends: Recognise the importance of health-oriented trends, especially in a post-pandemic world. Exercise for health and special populations is a consistent trend.
- Engagement: Focus on creating engaging in-person fitness programming to meet the evolving needs of your clients.
- Global Perspective: Keep an eye on global trends and consider the potential for cross-cultural trends to influence your local market.
The 2023 Fitness Trends from Around the Globe report provides a valuable resource for fitness professionals looking to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the health and fitness industry. By staying informed and adapting to regional preferences and global shifts, fitness professionals can provide better services and meet the evolving needs of their clients, ultimately ensuring a successful and fulfilling career in the fitness industry.
- Kercher, Vanessa M. (Martinez) Ph.D., M.Ed., FACSM, ACSM-EP, CHWC; Kercher, Kyle Ph.D., ACSM-EP, CPT, CSCS, PMP, CHWC; Levy, Paul MPH; Bennion, Trevor DHSc; Alexander, Chris ESSAM, AEP, AES; Amaral, Paulo Costa Ph.D., MBA, M.Sc.; Batrakoulis, Alexios Ph.D., M.S., ACSM-EP, ACSM-CPT, ACSM-EIM; Chávez, Lino Francisco Jacobo Gómez Ph.D.; Cortés-Almanzar, Paola Ph.D.; Haro, Jorge López B.Sc., M.Sc.; Zavalza, Adrián Ricardo Pelayo M.S.; Rodríguez, Luis Eduardo Aguirre B.Sc.; Franco, Susana Ph.D.; Santos-Rocha, Rita Ph.D.; Ramalho, Fátima Ph.D.; Simões, Vera Ph.D.; Vieira, Isabel M.Sc.; Ramos, Liliana Ph.D.; Veiga, Oscar L. Ph.D., M.Sc.; Valcarce-Torrente, Manel Ph.D., M.Sc.; Romero-Caballero, Alejandro Ph.D. M.Sc. 2023 Fitness Trends from Around the Globe. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 27(1):p 19-30, 1/2 2023. Click here to review the full research article
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