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By

DANA BENDER

Adaptation was a key theme while navigating the impacts of the pandemic. This adaptation was a necessity related to various aspects of daily life such as how we grocery shopped, spent time with family and friends, and even worked out to stay fit and healthy.

During the pandemic, exercise habits (and personal trainers alongside those changes) pivoted to accommodate for fitness facility closures and social distancing. More specifically, many individuals transitioned to exercising outdoors when the weather allowed for it. Additionally, others embraced virtual fitness offerings and/or expanded access to home workout equipment to exercise in the comfort of their living room.

Trends to look out for include implementing wearable technology, prioritizing shorter and HIIT-style workouts, exercising outdoors, and building a smart home gym.

Read more about these trends below.

6 FITNESS TRENDS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2022

  1. Wearable Technology
  2. Mini Workouts
  3. HIIT Workouts
  4. Building a Smart Home Gym
  5. Leveraging Virtual Classes
  6. Outdoor Exercises With Social Groups


1. WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

During the pandemic, individuals did not have the same resources at home that they did at their onsite fitness facilities and studios. To ensure that they were still engaging in high quality workout routines at home or outdoors, many turned to wearable technology. People wanted a convenient and accurate way to focus on their health and well-being goals while being able to track their success along the way.

Wearable devices were the answer to this need. This helped individuals measure the impact of their exercise sessions and ensure they were challenging themselves as it relates to heart rate zone, caloric burn, steps taken, blood pressure level, recovery time, and exercise intensity. Utilizing wearable technology has only continued to grow in popularity over the last two years. Wearable technology options include fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices.

There are a variety of wearable devices on the market many of which allow individuals to track their fitness metrics along with other areas of their wellbeing like sleep, nutrition, etc. This desire to measure and track aspects of one’s health and fitness using technology is likely to continue to grow in the year ahead.

2. MINI WORKOUTS

During the pandemic prioritizing daily movement became essential for many due to them being stuck indoors and at home more often. This led to more individuals fitting in shorter yet effective exercise sessions throughout the day.

This necessary adaptation has now led to the popularity of “mini-workouts” as a current fitness trend. A mini workout is a short bout of exercise that lasts for ten minutes or less and can be done multiple times throughout the day if desired.

Mini workouts often incorporate a combination of cardiovascular, muscular strength and endurance, and mobility exercises all into one routine. They can also be tailored differently as well. There are a variety of benefits from mini workouts. Firstly, engaging in mini exercise sessions can help busy individuals stay fit despite a variety of work and life priorities.

Similarly, incorporating mini sessions can even help new exercisers fit in workouts more easily. In both scenarios, mini sessions allow individuals to engage in effective workouts despite time or motivation barriers. It is far less intimidating to exercise for shorter durations throughout the day versus committing to an hour or longer exercise session.

Now that individuals have experienced the benefit of this new approach, the trend is here to stay. People want to get the job done with less time commitment.

3. HIIT WORKOUTS

Similar to the idea of maximizing effort with shorter mini-workouts, another fitness trend for 2022 is the utilization of high-intensity interval training in place of steady-state styles of training.

High-intensity interval training is an exercise routine that consists of short bursts of high-intensity movements or exercises followed by a short period of active recovery. Although HIIT workouts have been a desirable exercise format for quite some time, their popularity is expected to continue growing in 2022.

People want to make sure that they are getting the maximum benefit possible during the time they spend exercising. Incorporating HIIT workouts into a regular fitness routine is one way to ensure that outcome. Although HIIT workouts are not a new concept, those that embraced HIIT workouts during the pandemic are continuing to prioritize and embrace this modality.

4. BUILDING A SMART HOME GYM

Although working out at home increased during the pandemic, the concept of having a home gym is not new. Although the idea of home gyms is not new, building a smart home gym is relatively new. With that said, a fitness trend that will continue to grow in 2022 is individuals purchasing smart fitness equipment to utilize at home. Smart fitness equipment brands include names like Peloton and Mirror.

Smart fitness equipment allows individuals to access on-demand and live-trainer-led classes designed to increase one’s motivation, exercise adherence and performance. They also help track fitness metrics and provide real-time feedback on one’s performance effort such as heart rate zone intensity, sets and reps completed, and calories burned.

Although Peloton and Mirror are commonly known brands, there is a variety of other smart fitness equipment on the rise as well such as Hydrow rowing machines, FightCamp smart boxing equipment, and Tangram smart jump ropes. Long-standing fitness equipment companies like NordicTrack are now offering a smart treadmill option which allows individuals to access live workouts with professional trainers in the comfort of their home gym. With smart home gyms on the rise, there is something for everyone depending on their interest and preference.

5. LEVERAGING VIRTUAL COACHES AND CLASSES

In addition to purchasing smart home fitness equipment, individuals are continuing to invest in hybrid fitness. Even if individuals return to an onsite gym a few days a week, they are often still interested in having access to fitness apps that provide virtual classes and/ or virtual personal training in the comfort of their homes. The benefit of incorporating this hybrid approach is that it minimizes the need for individuals to travel to an onsite gym to train with a certified professional or take advantage of a fitness class.

Overall, it provides more choices in how individuals are fitting in their exercise sessions. Individuals can choose to go to an onsite gym or take advantage of virtual offerings when/if desired. Due to this trend, even local fitness centres and studios now offer hybrid on-demand options for their members through the creation of their own unique member app. Often this enhancement is offered as either part of an existing membership or through an upgrade fee. For example, Fitness Formula Clubs which is a popular fitness centre chain in the Chicago area has an on-demand option that members can access conveniently on the go.

Even yoga studios and corporate fitness companies now have on-demand options available to their facility members. This trend is not going anywhere because it meets the flexibility that exercisers need while allowing facilities to expand their membership reach.

6. OUTDOOR EXERCISE WITH SOCIAL GROUPS

Another trend that will continue in 2022 is an outdoor exercise with social groups. Although exercising outdoors is not new, more individuals are maintaining outdoor exercise routines that were established during the pandemic. This is especially true for outdoor activities that have a social element to them.

Examples include events like group 5k runs or city walks, community/group-organized day hikes, weekly outdoor group runs, etc. The inability to be social during the pandemic has made this trend even more popular as an exercise preference. So even though individuals can now go back to exercising at onsite fitness centres, they often prefer to sustain their community engagement in outdoor and social group fitness settings.

Although the pandemic is not impacting onsite fitness centres the way it did initially, some trends that evolved then are here to stay. These trends include utilizing wearable technology, leveraging virtual coaches and classes using streaming apps, investing, and building smart home gyms with new innovative equipment, maximizing effort with HIIT and mini workout formats, and continuing to embrace outdoor exercises in social group settings.

CONCLUSION

Even though time has passed since the onset of the pandemic, and people are returning to onsite gyms and studios, the fitness industry has evolved forever from this experience. Many individuals are continuing to maintain aspects of their routine and preferences that were established during the pandemic. For example, it is widely believed that individuals will utilize a combination of onsite and virtual fitness offerings more regularly than they did prior to the pandemic.

The pandemic has even changed how individuals prefer to exercise with these specific trends expected to grow in the year ahead. These new trends relate to how individuals approach the time they spend exercising, accessing fitness resources, and utilising personal trainers.

THE AUTHOR

DANA BENDER

Dana Bender, MS, NBC-HWC, ACSM, E-RYT. Dana Bender works as a Wellness Strategy Manager with Vitality and has 15+ years experience in onsite fitness and wellness management. Dana is also a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, an Adjunct Professor with Rowan University, an E-RYT 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, AFAA Group Exercise Instructor, ACSM Exercise Physiologist, and ACE Personal Trainer. Learn more about Dana at www.danabenderwellness.com.