For the past 15 years, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)’s Health & Fitness Journal® has circulated an electronic survey to thousands of professionals around the world to determine health and fitness trends for the following year. The results of this worldwide survey for 2022 have just been issued, providing some useful insights. These insights will be invaluable in informing the plans for growth and development of educational training providers and individual fitness professionals across Europe and elsewhere. 
 
As with 2021, the fitness sector will continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, particularly in the popularity of home exercise gyms and outdoor activities, ranking no. 2 and 3, with people taking advantage of the large offer of equipment and online classes to exercise at home, and/or get involved in outdoor walks, group rides, or organised hiking groups.  
 
In line with these trends, the digital transition continues apace with wearable technology taking the No.1 spot while online live and on-demand exercise classes (no. 9), mobile exercise apps (no. 16) and online personal training (no. 17) all featuring.  
 
Similarly, the drive towards a greater focus on health is reflected in the fact that the trends of health/wellness coaching (no. 10), exercise is medicine (no. 12) and lifestyle medicine (no. 19) all maintain positions in the top 20. These digital and health drivers have been similarly identified in surveys conducted by the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS) and as part of EuropeActive’s project work. They will undoubtedly continue to impact the direction and content of EuropeActive’s educational standards and the training of fitness professionals across Europe.  
 
Reacting to the findings of the survey, EuropeActive’s Director of the Professional Standards Committee, Julian Berriman, commented: “It is pleasing to see the on-going strength of the personal training profession (no. 6), the employment of certified fitness professionals (no. 13) and the licensure of fitness professionals (no. 18). These trends underpin the continued development and growth of the EREPS as a register of qualified and competent exercise professionals. It is these professionals who will provide the credible, digitally competent workforce of the future that will drive engagement with allied health professions and an increasingly health-driven end user.” 
 
The rest of the top 20 trends include (4) Strength training with free weights; (5) Exercise for weight loss; (7) High Intensity Interval Training; (8) Body weight training; (14) Functional fitness training; (15) Yoga; and (20) Group exercise training. 
 
The ACSM Survey will be of particular interest to the Sector Skills Alliance for Fitness and Physical Activity (SSA), which was recently formed by EuropeActive. The SSA has been established under the Standards pillar of EuropeActive’s Sectoral Manifesto and is an advisory group formed from stakeholders across the industry to identify sector-specific labour market needs, demand for new occupational profiles, and the skills needed to perform in the fitness and physical activity sector. The SSA will be informed by the insights provided by the ACSM and will continue to investigate underlying trends in our sector towards the development of a comprehensive sector skills strategy.  
 
The whole publication can be accessed here:  
 
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Jan 13, 2022 By Pauline Joskin