Health and fitness is fast becoming a hot trend among millennials and shows no signs of stopping. In 2018, the total market value of the fitness industry was estimated at £5bn and in 2020 that number is predicted to rise to £22.8bn! This is unsurprising when you learn that there are now over 7,000 gyms in the UK and 1 in every 7 people owns a gym membership (not sure how many of those people actually make use of those memberships but that’s a topic for another day).
With the number of fitness fanatics on the rise, health clubs and fitness companies are constantly looking for new ways entice young people who want to get fit. These days, millennials don’t want to spend hours in the gym or waste time weighing up the number of calories burnt against the number of calories consumed in a day (we all know the latter is always more anyway, come on).
As our lives move at a faster pace, we rely on technology to make daily tasks run quicker and seamlessly. And just like any day-to-day activity, we want our fitness on demand too. Whatever your fitness goal, whatever your style, there’s a technology out there to help you achieve your desired physique. As we are becoming more health conscious than ever before, technology is making fitness more accessible to even the biggest couch potatoes. Technology allows us to up our game in the gym, in our homes, wherever we are.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways fitness companies and organisations are harnessing the power of technology to ramp up our fitness.
Wearables have been around for a few years now, but they are constantly becoming more innovative. These gadgets use embedded sensors to track your movement, your heart rate and your sleeping patterns. By using AI learning capabilities, the data is processed and turned into useful information for the user. Wearables come in all shapes and sizes and the most well-known one has to be the smart watch, you can even connect these devices to one another to see what exercise your friends are doing to spur you on even more! But wearable technology doesn’t end at your wrists, now you can buy earphones that measure your speed, distance, step length and width, along with more complex measurements such as head tilt, shock and balance when you’re running. Then the little AI-coach in your ear can tell you how well you are doing during your workout and can help you improve in real-time.
These days we expect everything to available at our finger tips, including our training program. Smart gadgets can be synced to apps on your phone which show you the data collected in a readable form so that you can amend and refine your workout routines to hit your goals.
Another big trend in the fitness industry is group training. Health clubs and gyms can immerse their users in a workout experience to make it more interactive and engaging. Companies can create an engaging environment for its users with sensory technology and virtual reality elements. The machines can tell a user how much work they are putting into an exercise and see how they are doing in comparison to their peers. That way, their workout becomes more meaningful because they can see the relationship between effort and outcome. If they can see the direct results of their hard work in real time, they might be more inclined to work harder. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition when you’re all in it together.
Equipment such as treadmills and cross-trainers aren’t what they used to be, these days they can help you monitor your progress on a screen right in front of your eyes. Basic equipment has been taken to a new level and it can now measure variables such as your heart track to help you train smarter. Who knows, maybe one day all the devices in our gym will be connected using IoT technology so that when we walk in an app will be able to tell us when and where our favourite kit is available.
Or in the future you could scan your finger print or membership card on every machine and it could send you a workout report at the end of every session. If this is linked to your gym’s app, it could also notify your personal trainer who could then give you advice and feedback.
And these technological advances in fitness can have an impact on other sectors, specifically healthcare. Again, in the future if we find ourselves with a centralised NHS app, this could update your NHS fitness record which your doctor has access to.
Fitness wearables could link to national healthcare in the future. Imagine if you have a long-term heart condition for instance, and your doctor is able to view your workout data and inform you if something looks abnormal in your heart rate which allows you to seek medical attention before anything serious happens. Think of the lives we could save! Technology has proven to be instrumental in transforming the fitness industry and it shows no sign of slowing down! To find out more about how technology is transforming other sectors for our benefit, read our blog about how AI will impact healthcare.