Pictured: Alexander Rothstein (right) and exercise science students demonstrate VO2 max testing equipment, which measures the maximum rate of oxygen consumed during physical exertion.
In 2023, fitness trends saw Americans swinging pickleball paddles, replicating TikTok treadmill routines, and ditching hour-long sweat sessions for more efficient back-to-back “mini workouts.” At the end of the year, nearly half of Americans surveyed cited improved fitness as their top resolution for 2024.
With working out on the minds of many people, Alexander Rothstein, M.S., instructor and coordinator for the exercise science program, predicts this year's fitness trends and shares tips to “shape up” in the new year.
While the popularity of at-home fitness tools like Peloton and Tonal skyrocketed during the pandemic, Rothstein, an exercise physiologist, asserts that in-gym fitness has re-emerged as the main method of exercise for most Americans.
“At-home fitness will always be an option—it’s exciting and convenient—but a lot of this equipment just ends up taking up space and not getting used enough to justify the expense and clutter. Most individuals will instead choose to pay for a gym membership,” he says.
With more people returning to the gym, Rothstein believes there’s also a good chance they may seek out “unique” fitness experiences, such as facilities that offer special cycling options, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or Pilates classes. The demand for these specialty offerings is also demonstrated by the growing number of boutique fitness centers now providing niche workouts in cities where big box gyms previously dominated.
In addition, more people are realizing that training no longer needs to be done in person in order to be personal.
“Virtual one-on-one training options have opened a huge market for fitness professionals to offer their services and expertise to people from all around the world, right from the comfort of their homes,” says Rothstein. “Many professionals have already made virtual personal training part of their business model, and because of that, I expect it will stay trending.”
For those looking to improve their physical fitness in 2024, Rothstein shares the following tips:
- Make a plan that you will consistently follow. The best exercise plan is always the one that you will do. The most detailed and well-written plan is useless if it’s not adhered to, so choose options that will keep you engaged and motivated.
- Be sure that the exercises you select are hard enough and performed at an intensity that is high enough to challenge you safely. This challenge is what signals the body to improve cardiovascular health.
- If you’re currently exercising but favoring either cardiovascular or resistance training, consider a more balanced approach. It’s important to incorporate both types of training into your routine.
- Avoid the temptation to cancel workout plans. Once people cancel or skip a session, it tends to open a can of worms and people begin to cancel or miss more often. Following through on your plans will help you build sound fitness habits.
This article is part of the “Trends in 2024” series, which features perspectives from New York Tech experts on emerging trends, tips, and predictions for what’s to come in the new year.