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Check out this year's top 10 fitness trends released by the American College of Sports Medicine

10 min read

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) released the list of fitness trends for 2024 so let's talk about the top 10 trends for this year.

The top 20 list has been released annually since 2006 and is the result of an annual survey completed by health and fitness practitioners, personal trainers, academics and business owners worldwide. The results help us recognise the difference between trends and fads and make it clear that the trends are likely to stay around for several years. Trends are generally a development or change in a situation or the way people are behaving, while a fad is more typically associated with an activity or interest that is very popular for a short time.

1. Wearable Technology

Wearable Technology remains the leading trend, consistently ranking among the top three trends since 2016. It includes a diverse range of devices designed to be worn or attached to the user, typically connected to a smartphone. Wearable technology and items such as Fitbit, Garmin, Polar, Samsung or Apple watches provide a range of data to help optimise your training. They offer real-time data, including metrics like heart rate, step counts, active minutes, and sleep duration. By using wearable technology, fitness professionals can enhance the personalisation of daily physical activity, closely monitoring patterns, performance, and long-term progress for their clients.

If you do own a smartwatch, you can track your workouts either automatically, or by connecting them with our UOP Fitness mobile app. Our app collects data straight from the workout machines, which allows you to track your workouts even without an Apple watch. We also provide SWIMTAG wristbands at reception. If you haven’t tried it yet, don’t hesitate! SWIMTAG tracks the number of lengths you swim, split time, stroke type, stroke rate, average pace, distance per stroke, calorie burn and rest percentage. This information allows you to keep track of your swims, set challenges and compete against other users.

2. Worksite Health Promotion

Worksite Health Promotion has recently secured the 2nd position on the trends list, signalling a growing emphasis on health and overall well-being, with a significant impact on workplace productivity. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, we dedicate about one-third of our lives to the workplace in a standard 40-hour workweek. This presents employers with an opportunity to foster health-centric habits, such as engaging in physical activity and undergoing preventative screenings. The advantages of promoting these behaviours extend to reduced insurance costs, heightened workplace productivity, and enhanced mental well-being.

If you are University of Portsmouth staff, don’t forget you get a discounted Ravelin Sports Centre membership as a part of your Employee benefits. So if you’re not a member yet, don’t hesitate to sign up today and start your fitness journey today to enhance your physical and mental wellbeing - we offer three types of memberships, so you can choose the one that suits you best. We also provide Corporate memberships, offering discounted annual memberships for businesses and their employees. Check with your employer and join us with your colleagues

3. Fitness Programs for Older Adults

Fitness Programs for Older Adults have risen to the 3rd spot, reflecting an expanding array of fitness options tailored for this demographic. According to the Profile of the older population living in England and Wales in 2021, the number of people aged 65 years and over increased from 9.2 million in 2011 to over 11 million in 2021 and the proportion of people aged 65 years and over rose from 16.4% to 18.6%. Projections indicate a continued growth in the older adult population through 2040. Ageing introduces heightened risks of chronic illnesses, cognitive impairment, and falls in this demographic. Incorporating regular aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activities is a crucial strategy to reduce the impact of these challenges, sustain independence, and enhance the overall quality of life. 

Ravelin Sports Centre offers plenty of classes suitable for older adults, including weekly Over 50’s swim sessions and our new Aqua FIT classes. Exercising in water has plenty of benefits and is especially great for older adults and people with joint problems and injuries as it’s a low-impact activity that takes the pressure off the bones, joints and muscles. Water also offers natural resistance, which can help strengthen the muscles. Aquatic exercise can have many health benefits, such as improved heart health, reduced stress, and improved muscular endurance and strength.

4. Exercise for Weight Loss

Exercise for Weight Loss has secured the 4th position, a notable rise from its eighth spot in 2023. The role of regular exercise in enhancing metabolic function and diminishing body fat is now widely acknowledged. A comprehensive exercise regimen for weight loss should include aerobic activities and strength training, and be complemented by dietary adjustments to establish a caloric deficit. By preserving lean body mass during a weight loss journey, exercise proves instrumental in supporting individuals to sustain long-term weight loss. 

If one of your New Year’s resolutions this year was to lose weight, get fit or gain muscles, sign up for our exclusive 6-month January membership including a personalised training plan, one-to-one consultation and monthly body composition analysis, designed to guide you and support you on your fitness journey and help you sustain that initial burst of motivation.

5. Reimbursement for Qualified Exercise Professionals (QEPs) 

Reimbursement for Qualified Exercise Professionals (QEPs) moved up the trend ladder to the 5th place, representing a shift from previous years' focus on advocating for licensure for QEPs. Licensure failed to attain a prominent position in the top 10 trends, encountering significant policy-level obstacles that rendered it less feasible for the global fitness industry. Nonetheless, the emphasis on reimbursing QEPs for the services they are adeptly trained to deliver underscores the acknowledgement of exercise professionals, including personal trainers and exercise physiologists, as integral members of the healthcare continuum. In response to these developments, an ACSM Task Force was established in 2021, actively advocating for policy changes to enable insurance billing for patient services provided by QEPs within their scope of practice. This initiative aims to enhance physical activity outcomes and overall quality of life.

6. Employing Certified Exercise Professionals

Employing Certified Exercise Professionals secures the 6th spot for 2024, maintaining its consistent presence in the top 10 trends. Recognizing the importance of hiring trained professionals to lead fitness programs, health and fitness companies continue to prioritize this practice. Having an accredited certification is a crucial indicator to customers that a professional possesses the knowledge to effectively assist them in achieving their fitness goals. Professionals with certification build confidence by showing they have the required skills to safely recommend exercise within their specific area of expertise.

At Ravelin Sports Centre, we are thrilled to have amazing trainers that overlook our Gym, Fitness Classes and Aqua classes. Our Health and Fitness team consist of five trainers, who specialise in diverse activities and goals. Meet our team: Ben Jarvis, Javier Alcaraz, Egle Svedaite, Lucy Kafourous-Smith and Michaela Malisova.

7. Mobile Exercise Apps 

Mobile Exercise Apps appear in the top 10 trends list, securing the 7th position within the digital technology trend category. This appearance follows its first appearance in the top 20 at number 17 in 2016, initially labelled as 'Smartphone exercise apps'. The use of mobile exercise apps introduces a dynamic element to program delivery, offering users more flexibility. These apps have significantly influenced the market by presenting unique options for consumers and showing how effectively they boost levels of physical activity. Users can use mobile apps to schedule and monitor exercise activities and receive performance feedback.

Of course, we are not behind on trends and offer a mobile exercise app ‘UOP Fitness’ with your membership. UOP Fitness app allows you to track all of your progress across our brand-new Technogym equipment. You can automatically log your workouts by scanning into the machines. Our app also allows you to view and use our training programmes and compete with your friends.

8. Exercise for Mental Health 

Exercise for Mental Health claims the 8th position this year, highlighting the increasing acknowledgement of movement's importance in enhancing cognition and mood. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. When an individual’s emotional regulation, behaviour or cognition is significantly disturbed, it’s called mental illness or mental disorder. Mental illnesses affect a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour and according to the World Health Organisation, one in every eight individuals globally are impacted by mental illnesses to varying extents. Regular exercise can serve as a protective factor against mental illness because physical activity not only boosts mood but also contributes to overall improvements in mental health. A short 10-minute brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. However, aerobic exercises have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression the most - which are the two most common mental illnesses.

Whether you struggle with mental health or not, try to incorporate exercises such as running, swimming, cycling, yoga or pilates into your life and see if your mood and overall mental health changes for the better. Come along to our sessions, we got it all - Ravelin Run Club, Lane and Casual Swim, multiple Spin Classes and weekly Yoga and Pilates. If you want to know more before your sessions, speak to our lovely team who will be happy to answer any questions.

9. Youth Athletic Development 

Youth Athletic Development secures the 9th position, representing an approach to youth training that focuses on the development of motor skills, strength, and coordination. This trend witnesses a rise in the establishment of training facilities and programs designed to improve confidence levels, gain social skills, and enhance sports performance among young individuals. Children and adolescents learn basic movement patterns and prepare for skill acquisition.

Activities such as climbing and swimming are great for building your child’s confidence, concentration, coordination and social skills. Take your children to our Climbing sessions, Family swimming sessions and to learn or develop their swimming technique, sign them up for Swimming lessons. For University of Portsmouth students, we have 34 sports clubs they can choose from and join to try new sports or develop their skills.

10. Personal Training 

Personal Training secures the 10th position, maintaining its presence in the top 10 fitness trends list since its introduction in 2007. This approach involves one-on-one training that includes fitness testing, goal setting, and program implementation. Consumers opting for personal training can gain valuable insights into effective exercise selection, safety measures, and recovery methods.

Our team of certified trainers with years of experience offer multiple Gym services, from Consultations, Inductions, Bespoke Training plans, Personal Training and now exclusively also Body Composition Analysis. So whether you are a gym enthusiast who wants to measure their progress, or you are not familiar with different types of workouts and want help with creating a training plan or if you a complete beginner who has never been to the gym, we got it all. We also offer an exclusive 6-month Ultimate membership that has it all - Ultimate membership, consultation, training plan and monthly body composition analysis! So don’t hesitate and sign up before Sunday 4 February.