The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is a bimonthly journal of practical information for fitness sector professionals and learners. Their annual ACSM Health & Fitness report examines the trends in the sector across the world, based on surveys of more than 4,500 professionals. Similar trends are affecting the growth of the sector in both Europe and America. The move toward digital hybridity has been a strong indicator for the take up of wearable technology, outdoor exercise, and strength training.
In Europe, participants included health and fitness professionals, gym owners/managers, faculty members, and graduate students. Demographics showed that more than 50% of respondents were male, with 43.5% of respondents having less than 10 years of experience in the industry. More than 70% held academic degrees and less than 20% weren’t certified at all.
Hybrid fitness trends
In Europe, hybrid fitness has become an expectation for most consumers. Large brands such as PureGym have grown in prominence, expanding the access to their app. In doing so, expanded their access to prospective customers and ensured their own mandate for public fitness. A challenging period for most practitioners, trends in the consumer use of online facilities has further impressed the value of social or group-based fitness settings, post-pandemic.
Despite being a by-product of the pandemic, offering training and fitness programs online offers a new path for evolution, innovation, and progress. The market shows some overlapping technological themes in the American and European markets, where growth in wearable technology will work harmoniously with trends towards home and outdoor fitness.
Exercise for Health & Wellbeing
Exercise for health has been a growing area for the fitness sector. COVID-19 has revealed that there are huge areas of untapped potential for high-quality services that are heavily in demand. Many national governments and industry stakeholders have stressed the importance of building resilience through exercise as they build a pathway towards recovery.
Exercise is medicine and Exercise for weight loss both feature in the top 10 fitness trends in Europe this year, with 6 similar trends featuring in the top 20. The focus on health has yielded some interesting developments, including a proposal for social prescribing between health and fitness professionals for low-level mental health issues here in the UK.
In both Europe and America, there has been a move towards increased regulation of the fitness profession. According to EuropActive, the current formula for safety measures has been widely in the UK, with an overall rate of contraction at 1.6 cases per 100,000.
Consumer trends show that Personal Training and Online Live and On-demand Exercise classes created by practitioners are amongst the strongest top 10 traditions in Europe. With the growing importance in this area, many practitioners have highlighted how the present regulation can offer even higher-quality fitness services.
There is plenty of room for innovative new services with many of the participants of this survey, showing clear gaps in the market. The growing importance of health and fitness and its increasing connection with physical and mental health is a step toward better social prescribing in the sector. The prominence of technological solutions is a by-product of the pandemic, with some of these solutions continuing to be important to understanding public fitness levels.