Last year’s top trend, online training, fell to No. 9 on the list while Exercise Is Medicine and fitness programs for older adults fell off the list this year.
Last year’s top trend, online training, fell to No. 9 on the list while Exercise Is Medicine and fitness programs for older adults fell off the list this year. (Photo by dragana991/Getty Images.)

Wearable technology is the top fitness trend for 2022, according to a survey of 4,500 health and fitness professionals by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

“Tech advances have made it easy for users to collect important health metrics and work with fitness professionals and health care providers to develop healthy lifestyles and increase quality of life,” ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, who served as the lead author of the survey, said in a media release.  

Last year, wearable technology was the No. 2 trend. Online training, which was last year’s top fitness trend, fell to No. 9 on the 2022 list. (On this year’s list, it is called online live and on-demand exercise classes.)  

Now in its 16th year, this year’s survey assessed 43 potential trends.

Exercise is Medicine and fitness programs for older adults, which were on last year’s list, fell off this year’s list.

Home exercise gyms debuted on the list at No. 2, while exercise for weight loss, which did not appear on last year’s list, was No. 5 this year.

Outdoor exercise moved up from No. 4 to No. 3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) dropped to No. 7 from No. 5 last year.

The top 10 fitness trends for 2022 are:

  1. Wearable technology. Devices such as fitness trackers, smart watches and heart rate monitors that count steps and track heart rate, calories, sitting and sleep time, blood pressure and respiratory rate.
  2. Home exercise gyms. Uses minimal equipment or treadmills and bikes at home for solo or family activities.
  3. Outdoor activities. Include small group walks, group rides and organized hiking groups with participants meeting in a park, hiking area or bike trail for short and daylong events.
  4. Strength training with free weights. Includes use of barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and/or medicine balls.
  5. Exercise for weight loss. Using an exercise program in tandem with the daily routine of caloric restriction to lose weight.
  6. Personal training. Fitness testing and goal setting with a trainer working one-on-one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to individual needs.
  7. High-intensity interval training (HIIT). Involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery in a 30-minute (or less) session.
  8. Body weight training. Uses minimal equipment. Not limited to push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
  9. Online live and on-demand exercise classes. Uses digital streaming technology to deliver group and individual exercise programs online. Available 24/7 and can be a live or prerecorded class.
  10. Health/wellness coaching. Integrates behavioral science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs. A one-on-one and small group approach provides support, goal setting and encouragement.

“The fitness world continues to feel the effects of the pandemic,” Thompson said. “The more widespread use of vaccinations and our need to get back to a normal lifestyle are definitely reflected in the 2022 trends.”