The time when those seeking to improve personal fitness levels only had options such as jogging on the street or taking up a sport is long gone. Today technology and innovation offer a highly accessible gateway to a new kind of personalised data and knowledge-led fitness experience.
Current technology, including the recent development of wearable tech, is radically altering the way we plan our fitness activities, the manner in which we undertake them and, ultimately, how we measure results.
In short, the fight for fitness has been transformed, but where did it start?
Is it all just a game?
Perhaps the biggest shift comes when we look at how gaming companies have addressed the nation’s increased obsession with all things fitness.
For a while now, gaming developers including Xbox and Nintendo have offered a highly accessible gateway to a new kind of personalised fitness experience.
For example, Nintendo’s Wii Fit, an ‘exergaming’ concept truly disrupted the market when it was launched over ten years ago. A first-of-its-kind, the game saw users take part in multiple activities using the Wii Balance Board and saw an inactive nation reignite its passion for exercise. In fact, the concept proved so popular it is listed as one of the best-selling console games of all time.
In contrast, over in the US, Xbox launched its Fitbit Coach app in January this year. As a shining example of how technology companies are collaborating to bring users a great fitness experience, the app offers guided workouts through a completely personalised app. In addition, the app allows users to see their heart rate in real-time on the big screen, further optimising workout intensity and improving their overall fitness performance.
Continuing this theme, consumers have moved away from this notion of home fitness. Instead of seeking a mass-market approach, they are now turning to fitness technology which becomes completely individualised to their needs, and which is capable of monitoring and tracking activity 24/7.
As technology continues to become smarter and integrated into everything, it was only a matter of time until this technology was used to propel fitness goals amongst consumers.
Wearable technology has boomed in recent years to the point today where it is possible to interrogate many aspects of your fitness performance, rather than rely on the scales or body fat percentage as to how well you are doing. Millions of wrist-worn wearable devices have been purchased in the UK over as consumers have combined the potential of technology to support their fitness-driven agendas. Real-time information can now be relayed instantly to the user and shared amongst the wider fitness community, alerting them to health and performance intelligence around areas such as heart rate, distance travelled and calories burnt.
Initially charging the way for wearable fitness devices, Fitbits were able to provide basic user information such as energy expenditure, steps and heart rates keeping users accountable, while also seamlessly integrating into a users’ life.
Yet, much as it has done with the smartphone market, Apple’s Apple Watch has vastly capitalised on this market, offering increased technological capability combined with the familiar Apple experience. With its latest incarnation offering built-in GPS and 4G connectivity, Apple has yet again paved the way for wearable fitness devices.
Looking to the future
Current technology, including the recent development of wearable tech, is radically altering the way we plan our fitness activities.
Looking ahead, it’s safe to assume virtual reality is set to have an increasing impact on the fitness experience. Using a headset to help transform a home environment into an exotic location for a yoga or cardio session, can heighten the senses, act as a motivating influence and help supercharge the fight for fitness.
Taking this one step further, researchers have recently developed a device which can ‘hear’ a user’s internal voice, in silence. AlterEgo allows users to control devices and ask queries without speaking. With this in mind, future technology innovations may see a rise in wearable devices whereby users can motivate themselves during gym sessions, or even ask search engines questions on how to use equipment or improve technique.
We have come a long way from the days when getting fit involved very few, low-tech options. Technology innovators have applied their ingenuity and creativity in highly accessible forms so that today’s consumers are able to make the very most of their fitness seeking experience.
With the continued drive amongst the nation well and truly established on fitness this will be an interesting battle which will continue to disrupt the industry to deliver the ultimate user experience.
Here at MPA Group, our team of technical analysts are not only well versed in the latest technological innovations, but also hold in-depth industry experience which makes us the perfect partner when it comes to identifying qualifying R&D activity within your business. Contact us today to find out how we can work with your business to unlock the true value of its innovation.