Staying fit and healthy will never go out of style, but how we achieve our wellness goals are always evolving…
Just like other industries, trends in the health and wellness industry are constantly changing with the times.
As technology develops and new techniques are introduced, there are shifts in what’s popular.
To help you do just that, we reached out to a few experts in the field to learn the latest health kicks and self-care trends for 2024.
In this blog:
- What’s the Biggest Motivator for Working Out in 2024?
- Fitness, Wellness, and Health Trends for 2024
- Is Tipping Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers Becoming a Trend?
- Additional Resources
Current Fitness Motivations
Before we talk about particular trendy exercises, diets, or new fitness technology, let’s take a look at what motivates people to work out and how fitness habits are changing by demographic.
Self-Care and Mental Health
The big takeaway? Exercise for mental health.
In Alex’s study, they found that “43% of Gen-Zers (18- to 24-year-olds) selected mental health as one of their top reasons for working out, which was the highest percentage of participants from any age group to select mental health.”
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Top Fitness and Wellness Trends for 2024
Looking to stay in the know on current health and wellness trends?
From face yoga to fitness cocktails, our experts break down what’s up and coming in the fitness industry.
Back in 2021, Health and Wellness Director Christine Kingsley predicted a continued rise in wearable technology, such as smart watches.
She told us of a future where smartwatch health data would be prerequisite for any doctor’s visit — giving clinicians a head start on diagnoses.
And only a few years later, Christine’s predications are still on the right path.
The American College of Sports Medicine dropped the 2024 ACSM Worldwide Fitness Trends: Future Directions of the Health and Fitness Industry survey in January.
Gathered from over 2,000 respondents — mostly personal trainers — the survey named wearable fitness technology the top fitness trend.
(In fact, it’s consistently made the top three trends since 2016.)
“Devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers and heart rate monitors can include real-time information about pulse, step counts and sleep — thus providing exercise professionals the opportunity to tailor programs for their clients.”
The mainstay of fitness trackers also might suggest an increased need for social support, accountability partnerships, and community connection from athletes and everyday gym goers.
Extra Credit: Mobile exercise apps also made the top ten fitness trends this year, likely in steady response to the pandemic and at-home workouts. It allows flexible, effective workout programs for users and that ever-important sense of fitness community.
Workplace Health Promotion
Entering the top survey results for the first time is workplace health promotion.
People want to work for companies that offer wellness-related perks, such as:
- Discounts on gym memberships
- Access to mental health resources
- Lower health insurance costs
- Telehealth visits
- Employee athletic leagues
- Wellness reimbursements/stipends
- Complementary healthy snacks or coupons for health food stores
- Nutrition education
And it’s not just about physical benefits either. Employees are looking for a company that cares about their mental health, too:
- Remote or hybrid work to avoid office stagnancy
- Less than 40-hour workweeks and/or paid time off to prioritize work-life balance
- Volunteer programs to boost social connection
- Meeting-free days – because that’s just better for everyone
Fitness Programs for Older Adults
According to the Population Reserve Bureau, “The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to increase 47% by 2050.”
That’s 82 million people.
U.S. adults are in the workforce longer than they ever have been before and…
More of the older population is living on their own, especially women.
Unfortunately, aging naturally increases the risk of chronic illness and infection, cognitive impairment, and muscular decline.
However, many personal trainers and fitness instructors (and even at-home caregivers) are specializing in “regular aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activities” for older adults.
In fact, according to the Garage Gym Reviews’ study, “Cardio is now most popular among those 60 and older. 34% of seniors choose cardio as their workout of choice.”
Treadmills lead the way as the trustiest method of cardio.
This field specialty has been around since about 1920, but it’s only recently gained popularity as a supplement to physical training, especially in youth athletics.
Understanding and aiding the mental side of high-level competition is just as important as psychically preparing for it – and it’s beyond “trendy.”
This wellness practice is here to stay.
“Before, competitive athletes had very few resources for mental performance,” said Holly Jacobson, a mental performance coach and behavioral health counselor.
“How different could a sports career be if an athlete prioritized their mental game as much as their physical and technical game?”
These mental health professionals, like Holly, help everyday and competitive athletes combat performance anxiety and game-day pressure.
They also cultivate motivation and rebuild confidence as their clients retire from their sport or recover from injury.
“Building a healthy, optimistic, resilient mindset can truly help athletes achieve their goals and reach optimal performance more consistently.”
Health and Wellness Coaching
Good news for health and wellness educators!
The desire for health and wellness coaching shot up to a top fitness trend for 2024.
As defined by the ACSM, “Health and wellness coaches integrate behavioral science principles and theories into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs, helping bridge the gap between the clinic and community.”
These coaching professional partners ensure that their clients’ health journey is not just food swaps and exercise programs.
Health and wellness coaches use evidence-based techniques to provide support and feedback, changing their clients behavior, starting at the foundation.
Reiki (and Reiki-Infused Yoga)
Topping our list of current health and wellness trends, reiki is an energy-healing technique meant to relax and reduce stress and anxiety through gentle touch.
It’s great for relieving chronic pain and tension, promoting self-healing, and stimulating your body’s immune system.
Greg Wieting is the founder of PRISMA — a framework for overlaying trauma, neuroscience, and energy medicine with somatic and mindfulness-based practices.
He made it clear that people are “hungry for deeper healing.”
According to Greg, reiki is “proving to be a powerful healing practice to support people suffering from the anxiety, depression, and chronic pain symptomatic of unresolved trauma.”
Why is reiki so popular?
Reiki “returns us to our natural state of balance and our innate healing intelligence,” Greg said.
“When we are in touch with this wisdom, we live in a relaxed and alert awareness where healing just happens.”
And reiki and yoga — together? The ultimate healing experience.
While individual yoga trends are ever-changing, the mindfulness practice remains in the top 25 fitness trends year after year, according to the survey.
“People want more restorative practices, slower and more mindful/spiritual practices” these days, said Michelle Maslin-Taylor of Live Happy Live Healthy.
Her response? Combining reiki with yoga.
Offering a unique blend of “hands-on reiki healing and yin yoga,” she’s noticed a “huge surge in popularity for it.”
More yoga trends? Yes!
This softens and relaxes your face muscles to help alleviate tension, stress, and worry.
Physician Alice Williams told us face yoga is “becoming popular among people who want to improve their skin health.”
There are a number of online tutorials dedicated to face yoga, Alice said, all designed to “tone the muscles in your face.”
Virtual Reality Workouts
Want to ride a bike in another country? Or hike through mountains you’ve never visited?
Matt Claes is the founder of Weight Loss Made Practical, and he talked to us about the rise of these VR fitness workouts.
“Something I find especially cool about these workout apps is their immersive walks/runs/rides.”
With videos meant to be immersive and interactive, virtual reality workouts put you in “special locations, implement scenic rides, or add extra twists to your workouts.”
Free Online Fitness Classes
Online fitness classes are still a top fitness trend in the United States, according to the ACSM Fitness Survey and Garage Gym Reviews’ study.
With the world still seeing an increase in remote work and online fitness classes, Alex noted that “61% of respondents are still exclusively working out at home or at an apartment gym in 2022.”
And they’re using the internet to help.
“Online personal training uses digital technology to deliver online individual and group instructional exercise programs.
It may include interactive, live training sessions (like Peloton) or asynchronous/prerecorded workout template programs from a certified exercise professional (like YouTube workout videos).”
Not everyone is about staying indoors for workouts, though…
You may be thinking what the heck is a biophilia workout?!
Good thing health and fitness writer Shari Zink gave us the scoop.
“Biophilia refers to an innate love for nature that all humans possess,” Shari said.
“Green activity refers to movement or exercise in nature.”
With these green activities, fitness participants want a “more holistic, sensorial experience. They want workouts with lake views, mountain vistas, and real waterfalls,” Shari said.
“They want to feel the earth under their feet, to smell the grass and flowers and to hear the wind.”
And the survey data proves it.
Outdoor fitness activities came in as the No. 12 top fitness trend for 2024. Steadily increasing due to COVID-19-related restrictions, participation in outdoor fitness activities is growing in popularity.
According to the ACSM, these “activities occur in public parks, plazas, or hiking trails and are led by exercise professionals.
This health trend supports single- or multi-day events or classes involving running, biking, or leisure sports.
Bonus! It encourages community engagement and social well-being, which we all know is a top priority for fitness-goers.
Hey, working out can be fun, right?
If you’re looking for a little friendly competition in your workout, pickleball is an up-and-coming sport you might want to try.
Lynn Cherry of Pickleball Fire pointed out how easy it is for folks to get into pickleball and how so many folks are using it as part of their workout routine.
Currently, pickleball is the “fastest growing sport in the USA and Canada.”
As Lynn pointed out, you can play just about anywhere — on tennis courts, basketball courts, and even roller hockey rinks — so it’s accessible to just about anyone.
“It’s a great workout,” Lynn said, “It’s very fast-paced, and you’ll get lots of steps in when on the court.”
Top Health Trends for 2024
Non-Alcoholic Fitness Cocktails
This one sounds too good to be true, right?
A non-alcoholic cocktail with a fitness twist?
According to Suzan Eraslan of The Zero Proof, “one of the biggest wellness trends is non-alcoholic cocktails and beverages.”
“A lot of fitness events serve signature non-alcoholic cocktails,” Suzan said.
“They often have functional, health-boosting benefits as a post-workout recovery drink that doubles as a fun, social beverage.”
According to Trista, “Chlorophyll water is an easy way to detox, promote skin health, and provide the body with significant amounts of antioxidants.”
It also “improves the quality of red blood cells thereby enabling them to carry more oxygen,” Trista said.
Going beyond fruits and vegetables, we’re also talking nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.
“More and more people are interested in eating less meat,” Alice said, “or no meat at all, for both health and ethical reasons.”
Despite the name, going plant-based doesn’t mean you are a vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Instead, you’re proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.
PS… Is Tipping Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers Becoming a Trend?
Booking app Schedulicity created a poll on LinkedIn to see what folks in the health and wellness industry thought about asking for tips.
Here’s what we found! 👇