4 Ways Technology Is Rapidly Transforming the Fitness LandscapeApril 2, 2018
Fitness enters the Cloud
Wearable devices are collecting vital information nonstop. Depending on the device, they can collect data like calories burned, optimal heart rate, temperature, miles walked, and even advanced metrics like length and quality of sleep. All of this data is automatically saved to the cloud for easy interaction with other devices.
There are even apps that let you take a picture of the exercise machine’s console, capturing data like time, distance, calories burned. These apps use optical character recognition to translate the data on the machine to information stored in your fitness profile. This is a viable solution for saving your data when the machine you’re working on isn’t compatible with your personal device.
Finding Your Tribe
Technology has done a lot to add a sense of community to fitness. The fitspo movement was largely sparked by social media and an increasing number of people use social platforms to show off their daily routines and find inspiration.
Many fitness apps today are heavily integrated with social media. Now, no matter where you are, you can upload calories burned, miles run or achievements and share them. And your peers can congratulate you on your performance or even engage in friendly competition, no matter where they are. This can improve accountability, and it also offers support to newcomers, as well providing motivation to go harder and longer. Social media is also partly responsible for the rising popularity of new workout trends like mud runs and experience races.
One of the biggest benefits of technology is how it enables people to find others at their same skill level and fitness level. Now, newbies struggling to get started can get together with others at the same stage in their development. Or, you can find groups who want to try the same exercise regimen at the same time. Whether it is dance-inspired workouts, a new martial art or low impact routines for those with poor balance, they can connect and form workout groups. And that social connection makes people more likely to keep going while reinforcing the lifestyle changes they’re making.
Expert Information at your Fingertips
Technology has made it easier than ever to connect fitness enthusiasts with experts in nutrition and training. People can request and receive customized fitness programs and equally personalized diet advice. Those who can’t afford a personal trainer or gym membership can find any number of online videos, streaming media channels, and articles on how to keep fit at home.
There is so much fitness information online that they can find advice for almost any situation, though vetting sources for accuracy can be a challenge. Whether it’s low impact routines for new moms or a person trying to work out despite restrictions related to a prior injury can find advice on the moves that are safe for them and videos showing how to do them correctly.
The Evolution of the Fitness Business
Technology is altering the business side of the fitness world as well. There are a variety of platforms that connect customers with service providers, and the fitness industry is no exception. If you want a personal trainer who will work with you at 4 AM in the local park or a high-intensity workout in a private gym, there are sites and apps dedicated to connecting you with the right people. Other platforms provide support for fitness managers like membership management, staff membership, attendance tracking, cross-selling, payment processing, and financial reporting.
Fitness companies and individuals in the business are using apps for marketing purposes. It can be as simple as the gym sending members a message that they can bring in a friend for free on a slow day at the gym or as complex as a referral program with rewards for multiple signups.
Technology is also enabling 24-hour access to gyms. Many gyms are now able to stay open 24x7x365 since members can use ID cards or scanned apps to gain access. Gyms don’t have to spend as much on maintaining the front desk or security. Similar cards and apps can be used to control access to premium areas as well.
Tech support for fitness apps and wearable devices is now its own niche. You can find companies that specialize in repairing wearable fitness trackers and related devices, as well as publishing tech support advice for these items. Fitbits, in particular, have received many complaints from users who claim their units have charging issues. Mobile Mob recently addressed these issues in one of their articles; you can visit their site to find out more about Fitbit issues and get some troubleshooting advice.
Franchises are also using apps to create a more personalized experience for their clients. They are also using apps to build customer loyalty, launch special promotions, and promote new products. Franchise owners can reward users with special offers for a higher level of engagement or discounts for add-on services while being able to track the data for later analysis. Or, they can track activity levels and try to lure back inactive members with special offers tailor-made especially for them.
Genomics is also entering the fitness field by using DNA mapping to provide specific nutrition and training advice based on genetics. With the recent advent of companies like Ancestry and 23andme and the growing interest in genetics and their impact on health, we could see more and more people having their DNA mapped to personalize their fitness programs.
Technology has completely transformed the way people view and approach fitness, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Expect to see more gamification of exercise programs, better mining and reporting of fitness data, and seamless integration of data sources to the cloud.