• 11 – 14 April 2024
  • Exhibition Centre Cologne

26 January 2022, by Anna Angermeier

Worldwide Study: The most important Fitness Trends for 2022

Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) establishes the key fitness trends in a global study and has these assessed and ranked by 4,500 experts from the fitness sector. 2022 again saw wearables making it to first place. 

© Shutterstock

Rarely have the results of the global survey on fitness trends conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) been awaited with such anticipation as this year. The Covid-19 pandemic substantially impacted the fitness sector around the globe. Therefore, it is as important as ever to understand consumer behaviour with a view to developing strategic approaches for future fitness products/ranges and to promoting the growth of this industry. The Covid crisis has accelerated several aspects and trends noticeably – such as the uptake of wearables or outdoor activities. At the same time, other developments were called into question such as the success of boutique gyms or particularly low-cost fitness clubs.


Regional differences between trends visible

The 16th edition of the ACSM Fitness Study saw seven regions again actively participate in the survey (Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, Mexico, Spain and the USA). The trends detected varied by region. In the current survey 43 potential trends were assessed. The trends worth noticing include home gyms, which ranked 2nd for the first time, and outdoor exercise ranking third. In contrast to this, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) went down to rank 7, while online training, which in 2021 still ranked first, is now down to the nineth place, referred to as online-live and on-demand fitness courses.


These are the Top 10 fitness trends for 2022:


1.    Wearables

Devices such as fitness trackers, smart watches and heart-rate monitors, that measure and record steps, heart rate, calories burnt, sleep, blood pressure and respiratory rate.


2. Home Gyms

Minimalist fitness equipment, treadmills, indoor cycles for use at home – alone or with the entire family.


3. Outdoor Training

This includes walking in small groups, bicycle excursions or hiking groups. Participants meet at parks, nature reserves or on bike trails for brief training sessions or 1-day activities.


4. Strength Training with free weights

Instructors concentrate on the proper execution of exercises with barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and medicine balls. Weights are increased gradually.


5. Weight Loss Training

A controlled training programme in combination with a strict reduction of calorie intake for weight loss.


6. Personal Training

An instructor provides one-to-one training for the customer and uses fitness tests and concrete targets to put together a personalised training plan.


7. Hight-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Short activity impulses followed by a brief rest or recovery phase – all of this in a max. 30-minute training unit.


8. Bodyweight Training

Requires only little equipment. However, not limited to push-ups and chin-ups but also allows customers to focus on essentials during exercise.


9. Online Live and On-Demand Fitness Courses

Group and one-to-one training programmes are offered online via digital streaming technologies. The courses can be attended live or in recorded form and are therefore available round the clock.


10. Health and Wellness Coaching

Comprises scientific programmes for health promotion, lifestyle medicine. In one-to-one courses or in small groups support, targets and motivation are conveyed.


The most important insights provided by the study

In 2021 online training skyrocketed from 26th place (2020) to No. 1 in the trend ranking. This can quite clearly be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic and gym closures. Exercise was relocated from the gym to the home. In 2022 online training now ends up ranking 9th although the Covid crisis was still very present at the time the study was done. So a return to normality with more social interaction can be expected.

Like in 2019 and 2020 wearables rank 1st in the global “hitlist”. HIIT, the No. 1 trend from 2014 and 2018, lost some ground but does stay popular now ranking 7th. Dropping out of the Top 20 are such trends as circle training, corporate health promotion and well-being at the workplace as well as exercise programmes especially for kids.


Better quality of life and the longing for normality

“Technical progress now makes it easy to collect important health data and to cooperate with fitness experts and healthcare providers to develop a healthy lifestyle and improve quality of life overall,” says ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, main author of the study, and goes on to say: “The world of fitness continues to feel the impact of the pandemic. The increasing vaccinations rates and the need we all feel to return to normal life are definitely reflected in the 2022 trends.”


For the full study results go to: