2021 Fitness Trends, Boy How Things Have Changed by Stacy Geant Hughes

Updated: Feb 1

Welcome to my annual review of the new year’s fitness trends as identified by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). These trends are defined as behaviors that have staying power. Like many things, 2020 brought many changes to the fitness world, too!

Here are the top 4 fitness trends for 2021.

#1 Online Training (#26 in 2020)

With the closure of gyms and studios nation-wide during the coronavirus pandemic, online training, defined as a live-streaming or a pre-recorded class developed specifically for the at-home exerciser, has exploded in popularity. Think Peloton, which, by the end of 2020, had 3.1 million online users compared to 1.4 million at the end of 2019. Small in-person fitness businesses, too, pivoted to online training in 2020, many in order to survive. My own business, Core Value Pilates, began offering live-streaming online mat classes in early March and this offering remains a preferred option for many of our clients.

#2 Wearable Technology (#1 in 2020)

Estimated to be a $100 billion industry in 2021 (growth of 5% over last year), these trackers include step counters, pace trackers and heart rate monitors. New innovations, perhaps as people are even more focused on health and monitoring symptoms of Covid -19, include blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and electrocardiogram monitors.

#3 Bodyweight Training (#7 in 2020)

Given the increase of exercise from home, this trend doesn’t surprise. Body weight training uses minimal equipment, which makes it an inexpensive and easily accessible way to exercise effectively. Bodyweight training is all about using the weight of one’s body instead of things like free weights or bands or machines to provide resistance or increase effort. Think pushups, squats, burpees, jumping, and all mat Pilates exercises.

This outdoor Pilates mat class combined three of the four top fitness trends for 2021. It was outdoors, streaming live with others at home, and used exclusively body weight for the workout.

#4 Outdoor Activities (#13 in 2020)

My absolute favorite trend! I love the quote, “Nature is a gym and exercise is free.” According to ACSM, outdoor activities include things like small group walks, group rides, or organized hiking groups. They can be short events, daylong events, or even weeklong excursions. The common thread, of course, is that they are all outside. There is extensive data on the myriad health benefits (mental and physical) of spending time outside so this is an encouraging trend for sure!

Which one of these trends will you try in 2021? Whatever it may be, just get moving!

Stacy Geant Hughes, Owner of Core Value Pilates, LLC, Certified Pilates Instructor


Instagram: @core.value.pilates

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