As the 2021 approaches, experts say the fitness industry — which has seen its share of tumult in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic — is going to have to make some changes to keep up with some new trends that are here to stay.
That’s according to a global survey of fitness professionals that tracks fitness industry trends.
Some trends have slipped out of popularity over the past few years but the No. 1 trend for next year is online training.
“We’ll still go to gyms but now we’ve figured out how to do this hybrid kind of delivery, meaning in person and online,” said Dr. Walt Thompson with the American College of Sports Medicine.
He oversaw the most recent survey focused on the fitness habits of more than 4,000 people from around the world. The ACSM has been studying fitness trends for 15 years.
Coming in as the second most likely trend for 2021 was more widespread use of wearable technology, followed by body weight training and outdoor activities.
“I’m hoping that the fitness industry takes into consideration that outdoor activities are very appropriate types of exercise programs,” Thompson said.
Other trends to watch: A greater reliance on personal trainers and workout apps.
The challenges of 2020 have forced fitness clubs to adapt for survival or else.
“The critical part is, if clubs do not adapt, those are the clubs that are likely to fail,” Thompson said.
But he stressed that the health industry will likely always do well as a whole and he predicted a turnaround in 2021. Overall, Thompson said the social element health clubs play and the motivation they provide are important aspects that will never go away.
“I’m very optimistic, by the third quarter of 2021, health clubs will be back open,” he said.