What does fitness look like in 5 years? Tech Tech and more Tech.
Gym wear that speaks to your phone? Health clubs that digitally track your performance? I don’t know about you, but were insanely excited about the future of fitness – the possibilities of innovation in smart fitness products seem virtually endless.
I mean, lets face it. There hasn’t been an industry that hasn’t been seriously shaken up by major tech developments in the last 5 years – none more so that the fitness industry. 5 years is an insanely long time in tech. Only those early adopters in the know would have even heard of a Fitbit in 2011 let alone used it. So what products and trends can we expect to shake up how we workout in the next 5 years?
Wearable fitness technology
This definitely should not come as a shock to you with the major emergence of wearable tech in 2015 flooding the shelves. There’s plenty of room for innovation in this market, just ask Samsung who have recently patented their ‘smart ring.’
Even in 2016 there’s still a little market resistance in the wearables market but whether the smart rings really take off or not, we can safely assume that wearables are finally here to stay.
Image Credit: Wearable.co.uk
According to a report by CCS insight release, the wearables market is set to triple in the next 5 years. “The wearables market is set to grow almost threefold with more than 245 million wearable devices sold in 2019. Smartwatches are most valuable segment, taking 60% of market value, but fitness trackers remain most popular, accounting for more than half of all wearables shipments in 2015.”
But if you think wearable fitness technology is just limited to watches rings and other bling, think again. If you suggested 5 years ago that our clothing would be speaking to us by 2015 I would’ve assumed that you’ve been training too hard and prescribe a trip to the doctors.
Fast forward to 2016 and smart fitness clothing such as Athos are the first to the party with their ‘smart pants.’
There is even talk of connecting our clothing to smart phones which will block purchases in certain locations (such as McDonald’s) when the trousers exceed a particular waist size?
Can you imagine?
Our technology really may ‘wear the trousers’ in the next few years when it comes to our health and fitness.
Will our gyms look like something out of star trek in 2021? Virgin is already ahead of the game with major investments in smart gym equipment early in 2015.This combined with our smart fitness wearables will allow us to track results, progress and keep on top of workouts much more efficiently whilst allowing us to stay connected.
Originally thought of as a threat to larger gym chains we’re set to see larger, fitness club gym chains, ramping up their tech efforts to create the most optimal performance for gym users. You may well be seeing all kinds of gadgets and tech coming to a health club near you.
“We are constantly keeping track of the latest fitness technology available and how our members are engaging with these innovations,” said Virgin Active’s chief information officer Andy Caddy to Marketing Magazine.
“As more members use apps to track activeness outside of club, we wanted to ensure our definition of activeness is not constrained to what happens in club but takes into account the entirety of our members’ lifestyles.
Image Credit: Virgin
But what about the smaller gym box type gyms?
Over 2016 we will see an emergence of smart fitness technology used in gyms across the UK. Take a look at one of Kensington’s finest gyms Core Collective who have installed technology ‘to make the whole workout a seamless yet motivating experience.’ What’s special about this place? The whole gym can be controlled by Ipad.
How does this work you ask? Well, the technology and design comes from the integrated design companies Crestron and Knektd.Once installed it allows every component of the gym (air con, heating, lights, music and fire alarm) to be controlled both from the master App at reception or a dashboard within each studio. We’ll begin to see more of these gyms cropping up, using technology to create a much enhanced experience.
Influence of Mobile in Fitness
Heading into 2016, the mobile trend shows no sign of slowing down. 2015 was a big year for mobile—not only did the big guns Google announce that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries.
How does this affect the fitness world?
We will see an increase in fitness applications, online personal trainers as gym goers with technology in new ways. Training will be increasingly data driven with fitness enthusiasts able to access more personal data, quickly and efficiently. This will lead to a huge shift in how personal trainers go about their business according to ‘Equinox’ who say “Using data feedback to construct meaningful, uber-custom training programs will transform the personal training business as we know it today,” Equinox president Sarah Robb O’Hagan told Fast Company.”
Polar’s global product director Marco Suvilaakso agrees, saying that better information will make for better wellness planning. “We anticipate more powerful, smarter fitness algorithms in the cloud and in devices, which will in turn provide exercisers more personalized, ‘actionable’ feedback and guidance,” says Suvilaakso.
Technology with Community
For all the technology in the world, we predict that companies will still need to keep the focus on one important element: community and connectedness. Its easy to get lost in the ‘data and the numbers, but real fitness its about commitment, sweat and most of all, people.
Michael Alexander, Managing Director of UK based smart fitness equipment provider OptiGym UK says:
“As tech develops, its easy to lose our human connectedness. We’ve seen this with social media and the emergence of the smart phone which can actually cause a reduction in social interaction. Fitness is not only about improving your body and health, its about emotion, relationships and people. Fitness pursuits bring people together and inspire relationships in ways that no other industry does. We can get the most out of our smart fitness technology by learning to use it connect, motive and collaborate.”
Check out the OptiGym mission of bringing community and fitness together at www.optigym.co.uk
To there you have it, a look to the next 5 years in fitness. Regardless of the changes, keep working hard and smashing those fitness goals!
Article By Michael Alexander
Specialists in Digital Fitness in the UK