Skip to Main Content Skip to Accessibility

2021 Fitness Trends That Aren't Fads

August 26, 2021

  • Share on Facebook
  • Tweet
  • Pin it

With new workouts coming onto the scene all the time, current fitness trends are constantly shifting. Let’s look at the exercise trends that seem sure to last.

Basic Home Gyms

As fitness centers all across the world closed their doors under COVID restrictions, people started working out at home by necessity. And found out that it's pretty awesome! Polls show people plan to do more working out at home going forward. And you don't need to spend a bunch of money on the equipment needed to set up a basic home gym. Some dumbbells, a yoga mat, maybe a jump rope, and some resistance bands will do. You can pick up all you need to get started for about $100 or so. That's one heckuva deal compared to a membership to a gym, which you might avoid going to anyway.

Virtual Training Sessions

Another byproduct of COVID days, online fitness classes proliferated as the world went into lockdown. It wasn't just people turning to YouTube workout videos but live interactions with professional trainers. And it turns out people love simply flipping open their laptops or tapping on their tablets to join fitness classes in real-time. Forecasters are predicting a whopping 31.5% annual growth rate of the online fitness business to bring it to a $49.17 billion industry in the United States alone by the year 2027.

Mindful Physical Fitness

Yoga enthusiasts have long preached the mental benefits of incorporating mindfulness with exercise. But for just as long gym rats have countered this approach with a "just do it" muscle-building mindset. Well, it seems like the gurus are gaining ground, with the yoga market on track to see an annual average growth rate of nearly 10% to reach $66.22 billion globally by the year 2027. Some of the most-downloaded fitness apps, such as Calm and Headspace, tilt toward mindfulness.

Workouts with Wearables

Gone are the days when fitness apps on smartwatches were for super-geeks and fitness freaks. Users of wearable devices have become comfortable having detailed information about their exercise routines, sleep patterns, and overall health right on their wrists. This wearable trend shows no sign of stopping as the technology increases; features like UV sensors that monitor your skin's exposure to the sun, blood-oxygen and blood pressure monitors, and biosensors of all kinds are the future of personal fitness.

Gaming Gets Physical

The old folks probably recall the mid-2000s when Nintendo's Wii took physical-movement gaming mainstream with titles such as Just Dance, Exerbeat, and the Zumba Fitness World Party. Today's fitness games make those digital dinosaurs look like Atari Pong! Ring Fit Adventure will get your blood pumping, and put you through some intense yoga poses, as you seek to take down a bodybuilding dragon. A virtual trainer guides you through Fitness Boxing, Beat Saber will give you a serious workout (even though it's not technically a fitness game), and Zumba: Burn It Up, well, you get it. With ever-improving VR tech, games that incorporate workouts are guaranteed to increase in popularity.

Exercise in the Great Outdoors

While it may seem at odds with increased online workouts and home gyms, fitness research shows that outdoor exercise is a rising trend. It's estimated that about half of active adults will be looking to get outdoors for activities such as walking, running, and hiking in 2021. This coincides with a decrease in traditional gym memberships. And we're not just talking about nature walks, but outdoor gyms and outdoor exercise classes that saw a boom due to coronavirus restrictions are likely to stick around.

HIIT is Here to Stay

HIIT, high-intensity interval training, was a top trend nearly a decade ago. And each year there's lots of speculation that it'll turn into a fad, but HIIT continues to make it into lots of Top 10 lists. HIIT workouts show no sign of slipping in popularity. Customization is key to its success; these fast-paced calorie-burning workouts can be tailored to just about any fitness need and easily done at home with a limited need for equipment or space.

And a Few Fads We Suspect Won't Last

  • The Keto Diet. It had a popular run, but the low-carb, high-fat diet has been called out by nutrition experts as one of the very worst ways to eat.
  • Heated Workouts. Sweating does not help you to lose weight. It's just your body helping you to cool down, and too much sweating leads to dangerous dehydration.
  • FitTok. The overwhelming majority of fitness influencers who are posting on TikTok are amateurs who give terrible advice. Users will catch on and tune out.

Not all of the latest fitness trends are sure to stick around. Fitness crazes come and go. But some are solid workouts that aren’t fads and won’t fade.

Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.

SEE MORE Journal