The start of each new year gives us the opportunity for a fun experiment: figuring out what we will (and won’t) be doing when it comes to workouts and wellness. Let’s face it, fitness is constantly changing and there’s always something new to try, right? Over the last couple of years, people all over the world have seemingly become more aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. And at least in part because of that, the fitness industry has gotten bigger (and better). Whether you’re hoping to stick to your new year's resolution or are constantly crushing the goals on your fitness tracker and want to be on top of what’s coming, these are the trends to watch for in 2022.
Everything Is Tracked
According to a worldwide survey of trends by the American College of Sports Medicine, the number one fitness trend for 2022 is wearable tech (up from the #2 spot in 2021). The survey suggests that our desire to gravitate back to our pre-pandemic lives means getting out there and getting active, but with all the data. Dedicated fitness trackers now come in a myriad of wearable devices that can help you log your workouts, sleep better, and improve your overall health. The Apple Watch and Whoop remain at the top of our list, but Google is rumored to be launching the Google Pixel Watch sometime in 2022. And the Oura Ring continues to gain in popularity as we focus more and more on rest and recovery. The Coros SafeSound Helmet is a smart solution for cyclists, while the vape-like Lumen determines from the CO2 in your breath whether your nutrition is on point. That’s some serious number crunching.
The Hybrid Gym
The reports of the gym’s death are greatly exaggerated. In fact, as of late 2021, online searches for “gym near me” accelerated and traffic at gyms across the county have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels. But we’re not forsaking the home gyms and connected set-ups we built out during lockdowns entirely. Many trainers we spoke to anticipate dual memberships and streaming class packages will facilitate the new normal hybrid of remote and office work. Imagine hitting the gym for some heavy lifting on days you’re out of the house and then streaming a spin session or HIIT workout when you’re working from home on Mondays and Fridays.
Customization Is Key
Why buy just any jump rope, when you can get one that you can have personalized with your choice of color, cable preference and length? Companies like Gainful offer personalized protein powders along with pre and post-workout shakes tailored to your individualized needs. Fitness-focused meal delivery services such as Territory let you tailor meals based on diets like keto, paleo and Whole30. And even supplements can be created with your exact requirements in mind thanks to DTC brands such as Care/of, Vitl and Nourished.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely got my favorite Apple Fitness + trainers. The ones I’ve come to rely on to deliver strong workouts right in my sweet spot. Vanity Fair has called Peloton’s popular instructors “a new class of celebrities, beamed right into our homes.” And the appeal works IRL too. With strong demand for social connection driving the live workout revival, “rockstar instructors” was identified as the single most important factor for gym-goers when choosing a class. According to Les Mills’ 2021 Global Report, the demand for added motivation and deeper connection outweighs other factors like the type of class or music.
The Sounds of Wellness
Apple Music has supercharged its playlists with dozens of new fitness-focused track lists for 2022. Peloton just partnered with Spotify to offer a dedicated Curated by Peloton shelf within the hub that showcases seven playlists from their world-class Instructors and popular fitness disciplines. Meanwhile, meditation apps like Headspace and Calm are now churning out high quality music and sounds to soothe the soul. But it’s not just music. Podcasts are helping people plug into mindfulness more and more to deal with the stress of the workweek. There’s an app too: Endel mixes up a “personalized soundscape” based on your biometric data and current needs - be it sleep, focus or relaxation.
Believe it or not, the average American spends more than 90% of their time indoors. One upside of the past few years is that we’ve rediscovered the joys of training outside and simply going for a hike or walk around our neighborhoods. More gyms are hosting open-air workouts these days and wellness retreats offering forest bathing have evolved from “hippie dippy” to vital. In fact, prescribing time in parks and green spaces is now used as a way of treating a range of conditions including high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. Don’t think you’re getting enough fresh air? The NatureQuant app measures your scientifically recommended 120-minutes weekly dose. FYI: American consumers spend more on physical activity than any other country in the world - $265 billion a year. (Source: Global Wellness Institute)