The annual Garmin "Fitness Report" compiles data from the millions of individuals using the Garmin Connect app to track their workouts, and the 2023 report is full of curious insights. Some data points, like running being the most popular activity among users, are not surprising. Others are.
Walking, cycling, strength training and cardio — in that order — make up the rest of the top five most popular activities. Other more nuanced activities saw sizable year-over-year growth in sessions recorded, including indoor rock climbing (+62%), e-biking (+62%), bouldering (+68%), tennis (+76%) and tracking running (+76%). But only one activity had over 100% growth in 2023.
According to user data, this is the fastest-growing workout activity
High-impact interval training (HIIT) sessions recorded by Garmin users were up 112% in 2023, the biggest percentage increase of any trackable activity. That comes with a caveat: Garmin first introduced support for HIIT workouts in early 2022, so we may have to wait until 2024's report to see if the trend sticks.
Either way, it's no surprise that HIIT is booming in popularity. Sessions come in many forms but always include alternating rounds of high-intensity workouts followed by shorter, lower-intensity movements. CrossFit is one of the most popular forms of HIIT, but it's far from the only one.
Advantages of HIIT
High-intensity interval training offers numerous benefits, including boosting one’s metabolic rate and burning a large amount of calories in a relatively short period. Best of all, users can customize their HIIT routine as much as they like. Not into burpees? Swap them for Mountain Climbers.
This may also come as a surprise, but HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than even running. You also don’t need to go to the gym or even own any fitness equipment to take part in HIIT. However, the best exercise bikes and the best free weights will provide a greater amount of workout flexibility and fun.
How to try this fast-growing workout at home
Want to try HIIT on your own? These are the best beginner HIIT workouts. And they all can be done from the comfort of your home. Want more options? This equipment-free HIIT workout takes just 35 minutes to complete and is a staff favorite.
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Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.