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And the Biggest Fitness Trends In 2016 Will Be…


Start prepping your New Year's resolutions: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has announced its annual fitness trend forecast and, for the first time, exercise pros say wearable technology will be the number one trend in fitness in 2016. (Can't say we're exactly shocked by the news, consider how much the Shape staff loves their fitness trackers!)

The survey results, published today in the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journalreveal that wearable tech overtook activities like body weight training (number one in 2015) and HIIT (number 1 in 2014) to claim the top spot.

"Tech devices are now central to our daily lives and have changed the way we plan and manage our workouts," said study author Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D. "Wearable devices also provide immediate feedback that can make the wearer more aware of their level of activity and can motivate the user to achieve their fitness goals." (Plus, there are these 5 Cool Ways to Use Your Fitness Tracker That You Probably Haven't Thought Of.)

Besides the addition of wearable tech, the ACSM's predictions (now in its tenth year) are pretty identical to the 2015 list—which makes sense since they're tracking trends they expect to stick around for awhile. However, two additional headlines appeared in the top 20: flexibility and mobility rollers, as well as smart phone exercise apps. (These are two trends we're definitely on board with. See the 5 Hot Spots to Roll Out Before Every Workout.)

The survey was completed by more than 2,800 health and fitness professionals worldwide who were given 40 potential trends as choices. Here's the whole list of the top 10 fitness trends for 2016.

1. Wearable technology. You probably didn't need a survey to tell you that fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices from brands like Jawbone, Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, and more, will continue to be huge in 2016. Now, though, it's more than just counting steps. Learn how New Wearable Technology Could Replace Your Old FItness Tracker and check out these Workout Clothes That Double As Wearable Tech.

2. Bodyweight training. It's no secret we're fans of bodyweight training—the use of minimal equipment makes it a super convenient and affordable do-anywhere workout. And it's not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups—put a fresh spin on bodyweight exercises with this workout: Circuit Training Goes Old School for a Total-Body Burn.

3. High-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest, and the entire workout can usually be performed is 30 minutes or less—just one of its many benefits! (Try this HIIT Workout that Tones in 30 Seconds.)

4. Strength training. Sure, you'll build muscle, but you'll also torch more body fat, burn more calories, and protect your bone health and muscle mass, making strength training a necessary component for any workout program. (These strength training execises are The Perfect Total-Body Workout for Couples.)

5. Educated and experienced fitness professionals. This year, we saw the rise of the personal trainer slash celebrity, emphasizing the importance of national fitness certifications and credentials more than ever. 

6. Personal training. Whether you're looking to learn the ropes or reach a new fitness goal, personal trainers remain a smart way to get the most out of your gym time. (Find out The No. 1 Myth About Being a Personal Trainer.)

7. Functional fitness. Based on the idea that the workouts we do should mimic and support the activities of daily life, like bending down, picking things up, walking up stairs, and pulling or pushing open doors, this 'trend' makes so much sense. (These 7 Functional Fitness Exercises can help get you started.)

8. Fitness programs for older adults. Studies show that after 40, we begin to lose muscle mass and strength, so fitness programs that keep older adults healthy and active are crucial. We're happy to see that health and fitness professionals will continue to focus on creating age-appropriate and safe workout programs in 2016.

9. Exercise and weight loss. This may not seem like a trend per say, but in addition to exercise, nutrition continues to be a key component of weight-loss programs. (What's Better for Weight Loss: Diet or Exercise?)

10. Yoga. With new iterations like fat yoga and salty yoga popping up by what seems like the minute, yoga is more popular than ever. Although it's fallen a few spots on this year's list, it's no surprise that the activity—which includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda, and others—remains in the top 10 trends for 2016. (Try these 14 Poses to Revamp Your Vinyasa Routine!)