Top Exercise and Fitness Trends for 2018

Having trouble sticking to your exercise goals? Maybe you just haven't found the right activity for you
January 25, 2018 Updated: January 28, 2018

Every new year, many of us vow to make exercise and fitness a priority in our lives. “This is the year!” we say to ourselves, and then after an enthusiastic start, interest wanes.

But perhaps we just need to discover the right activities that not only excite us, but fit well into our lives. Here are the top exercise and fitness trends this year—try them out and see if one or two may be just right for you.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). 
According to a recent global survey of 2018 fitness trends by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), HIIT tops the list—again—after a four-year hiatus. Perhaps the fact that it has made a comeback means people have found it valuable, and might be something to try if you haven’t already. HIIT is popular for several reasons, one being that you maximize your time and effort: you can finish your workout in about 20 minutes or less.

Focus on fun. This seems like a no-brainer, yet sometimes we need to be reminded. According to Jenny Eden Berk, a certified health and eating psychology coach, we need to stop being so hard on ourselves and return to playful exercise. “There is a growing movement of … classes that focus on games that get people moving while totally having fun,” she says.

In addition to classes, your idea of fitness fun could be joining a local group that gets together for hiking, climbing, tennis, walking, volleyball, or other activities. My fun workout is kickboxing. It took me a while to find an exercise routine I enjoyed, and now I look forward to going at least three times a week.

Live-streaming fitness. Although live-streaming exercise and fitness classes are not new, 2018 will be the year they really catch on, predicts Dr. Carrie Burrows, a certified personal trainer and kinesiologist. This is because you get the advantages of joining real-life people working out together with the time-saving convenience of not having to leave your home or office. You can don your comfiest workout clothes, participate live or access the archives, and the cost is typically much less than joining a gym.

Exercise with your pet. This trend makes sense for a number of reasons, not least of which it can be a lot of fun. In addition to walking and jogging with your dog, there are a growing number of establishments that allow your canine (or feline) friends to join you in yoga or Pilates sessions. Other activities in which you can include your dog are stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and doggie boot camp, among others.

Boxing. Interest in boxing among women has been growing for several years. Yet Katie Dunlop, creator of Love Sweat Fitness, says “there will be a huge trend toward boxing in 2018,” and it won’t be in big gyms. Rather, women will be turning to group fitness classes, private gyms, or even home workouts when hitting the bag.

Family fitness. Anyone who has kids, especially younger ones, knows that squeezing exercise into your daily routine can be a huge challenge. But what if you focused on family fitness? Depending on the age and abilities of your children, family fitness programs can be the answer, and they are a growing trend. Fitness centers, community centers, gyms, and sports facilities are increasingly focusing on family-centered physical activities ranging from swimming and cardio to kickboxing, yoga, indoor cycling, Zumba, and track and field. No babysitters needed.

DNA testing for performance. 
What does DNA testing have to do with exercise? Plenty, because information about your genetic background can help you better plan your fitness and wellness programs. DNA testing has taken off as people want to learn more about their heritage. But more and more individuals are also learning they can customize their workouts better if they understand their biology.

Fitness for boomers. Among the ACSM’s top trends for 2018 was exercise opportunities for baby boomers. More and more fitness centers, retirement establishments, community programs, and personal trainers are incorporating exercise and fitness programs geared toward this population. If this is you, or you know someone who fits into this category, take advantage of these age-appropriate exercises.

Pilates for men. Pilates has often been viewed as a fitness routine for women, but fitness trainer Erik Marthaler believes more men will turn to Pilates once they realize how effective it is for working the core and entire body, as well as improving posture. After all, many NFL players are Pilates devotees.

Now, which exercise plan will you try this year?

Andrea Donsky is an author, registered holistic nutritionist, editor-in-chief of, and co-founder of The Healthy Shopper Inc. This article was originally published on