In last month’s column I recommended that you take a look at the various fitness industry trends reports to gain insight as to what is influencing consumer behavior and your business.  These trends reports will open your eyes to the opportunities ahead.  Not only will these insights help you make sound business decisions moving forward it will provide you with new knowledge of what is disrupting the industry as we know it today.  Recently I was interviewed by a leading fitness magazine for their feature “Wellness Trends for 2018” and I feel obliged to share these ideas with you.  I feel the fitness industry is making a significant step forward and 2018 is going to be a year of great change, and disruption.  While some trends will remain as strong as they have been for years, others will fall down on the trends list and be replaced by new ‘up and coming’ concepts that will revolutionize the industry by 2020.  The following are three major trends I see for 2018:

Wearable technology and Apps to guide, support and connect exercisers with their workouts and their workout community will stay on the top of the trends list.  It is estimated that by 2018, seventy percent of healthcare organizations globally will invest in consumer-facing technology, including Apps, wearables, remote monitoring and virtual care. The wearables market will continue to expand massively and even those who work out in a formal fitness setting will use more than one App to support their fitness and wellness needs as well as their need to connect with other like-minded exercisers.

Group Fitness will continue to grow and diversify.  Within this group fitness space there will be more variety in programming and fusion-style or “mash-up” workouts will grow because it serves the interests of Millennials.  Almost any style of fitness can be integrated together to create a great fusion workout—Piloxing (Pilates and Boxing), Core De Force (MMA and HIIT), Yoga Barre (Ballet, Yoga and Pilates), NEWBODY (cardio and life-style strength training), BodyFlow (Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates) and STRONG by Zumba are just a few examples.  Yoga will continue to diversify and expand and be accompanied by Meditation, Zen and Relaxation classes. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts will remain strong especially among the Millennials.  Almost all exercisers say they are more likely to work out when they work out in a group or with a friend. Over eighty percent of people who exercise say that working out in a group or with a friend makes it more fun.

Exercise prescription and ‘exercise as medicine’ will begin to take its rightful place within the exercise community.  Fitness professionals and health care professionals are coming together in order to meet the expanding needs of the deconditioned market.  As a physiotherapist and certified fitness professional for over three decades I’ve always believed this was possible and now it is no longer possible for health, fitness and wellness professionals to work independent of each other.  The time has come that we work as a team to help build and rebuild the health of all people.   People have the desire to live better.  We need to be prepared to connect, coach and care for them in new and engaging ways.  If nothing changes, then nothing changes.

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