For the second year in a row, wearable technology is the No. 1 trend on the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) annual survey of fitness trends.

The results were released in the article Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2017, which was published Wednesday in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. More than 1,800 health and fitness professionals worldwide, many certified by ACSM, completed the 11th annual survey.

Related: Wearable Technology No. 1 on ACSM Trends for 2016 List

Wearable technology includes activity trackers, smartwatches, heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices and smart eyeglasses, which are designed to show maps and track activity.

“Technology is now a must-have in our daily lives,” said Walter R. Thompson, the lead author of the survey and associate dean in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “Everyone can easily count steps taken or calories burned using a wearable device or a smartphone. The health data collected by wearable technology can be used to inform the user about their current fitness level and help them make healthier lifestyle choices.”

Athletic Business: Top Trends From a Fitness Guru

Body weight training is No. 2 on the 2017 survey, followed by high-intensity interval training (HIIT), educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals, and strength training. The top three trends are in the same order as they were for 2016; strength training and educated professionals flip-flopped on the list for 2017.

“These trends reflect continued strong consumer interest in strength training and functional fitness,” Thompson said.

Group training (No. 6) and Exercise is Medicine (No. 7) are new trends to the 2017 list, replacing sport-specific training and core training. The rest of the trends on the 2017 list also were on the 2016 list.

Of the 42 potential trends from various fitness environments in the 2017 survey, the top 20 are:

1. Wearable technology

2. Body weight training

3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

4. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals

5. Strength training

6. Group training

7. Exercise is Medicine

8. Yoga

9. Personal training

10. Exercise and weight loss

11. Fitness programs for older adults

12. Functional fitness

13. Outdoor activities

14. Group personal training

15. Wellness coaching

16. Worksite health promotion

17. Smartphone exercise apps

18. Outcome measurements

19. Circuit training

20. Flexibility and mobility rollers


Stuart Goldman is Editor of iClubs.