Wearable technology named top health and fitness trend for 2020

More Americans are using wearable fitness trackers than ever to monitor their health, a trend the American College of Sports Medicine says is the top fitness trend for 2020, according to a recent survey.

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ACSM’s “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020” interviewed over 3,000 health and fitness professionals, all of which said that wearable technology will be the top trend in fitness next year, with millions of Americans already using such technology to monitor their exercises, heart rate, calorie consumption, sleep quality and step count.

“Wearable tech has become ingrained in today’s culture, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., ACSM Past President and lead author of the survey and associate dean in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “Tech advances have made it easier than ever for users to collect important health metrics and work with fitness professionals and health care providers to improve exercise efficiency, develop healthy lifestyles, manage chronic diseases and, ultimately, increase quality of life.”

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ACSM’s annual survey, now in its 14th year, serves as a foundation by which the health and fitness industry assess and formulate crucial business decisions based off of new and growing trends in the market. This year’s survey offered participants 38 trends to choose from, ranging from lifestyle medicine to high-intensity interval training and group training, both of which have remained in the top three for the past three consecutive years.

This year, ACSM published a new article alongside the survey, “Regional Comparisons: The Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends,” which compared the top 20 fitness and health-related trends in North America, South America, Europe and China in an effort to gain a better understanding of global developments throughout different regions worldwide. The same methodology was used by ACSM’s “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends” in tracking these global trends.

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“Through the regional comparison we hope to enhance the scope, reach and relevance of the ACSM fitness trends survey to truly make it an international collaboration,” said Vanessa M. Kercher, Ph.D., M.Ed., co-author of the regional comparison article and a clinical assistant professor in the school of public health at Indiana University. “We plan to continue developing our international partnerships with the goal of improving and expanding the implementation and methodology of the ACSM fitness trends survey. By doing so, we aim to identify fitness trends specific to different international regions so we can explore and communicate regional similarities and differences to readers.”

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Wearable fitness devices are expected to evolve quite a bit in the coming years, with Apple patenting  “smart clothes” technology last year that can measure heart rate, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, electrocardiograms, blood oxygen levels and respiration rates all through sensors woven into clothing fabric.