The fitness Industry is evolving and developing at rapid pace. New technologies such as the FitBit, Black Box VR and the Peloton tread are enabling consumers to take their workouts to the next level.
The fitness market itself is estimated to reach £22.8 billion by 2020, which Statista states that the main increase in revenue for the industry is due to the development of new equipment, technologies and trends. This growth is visible from the steady increase of fitness and sports occupations in the market. In relation to my last blog post, this shows that occupations within the fitness industry may not be at risk. There is also a massive increase in alternative sports like Zumba, Yoga and even 30-miunte HIIT classes, which shows that the traditional formats of fitness is developing and advancing.
Statista also noted that in 2015, a quarter of 19-54 year olds in the UK had a healthcare, wellness or fitness app on their phone or tablet. It can be found that over the last three years the popularity of fitness apps has grown by 330% , according to Flurry Analytics. There are over 250,000 fitness and health apps that are available to download and have at the tip of your fingers. The increase in popularity for these apps and technologies has meant that more and more people are getting involved with physical activity, helping them become healthier and more active.
The FitBit: Does it actually work?
FitBit is an American company that is known for their technology in fitness wearables and activity trackers. The devices measure the number of steps you do in a day, how much sleep you get and the quality of it, heart rate and other personal metrics involved in fitness. These are all useful when trying to figure out how active you are, and whether or not you need to be getting more sleep or doing more steps. The fitBit is also extremely useful if someone is trying to lose weight or just wants to increase overall activity. As the FitBit increased its sales, they developed the product and made it more stylish for the consumer. Now, the FitBit Charge 3 has a 40% larger screen than the Fitbit Charge 2, also comes in different colours and different sized bands. Over the past year, mobile health & fitness apps have grown 9%, with the highest growth coming from studio and fitness content apps (49%).
These trackers, which are in a watch form, can also be linked and used on smartphones and other devices. This enables consumers to constantly be aware of their own progress and be in competition with themselves (and others) as they can look back at what they got the day before. Many also say that physically seeing the number of steps that you have done, or how many calories you have burnt actually motivates them more. This can also be said with nutritional apps too like MyFitnessPal. One personal trainer said that the benefit of these apps came when they paired that information with learning how many calories they burned doing particular exercises.
In the past years these technologies and apps have been under pressure to be as addictive as the likes of Instagram or Bejewelled. Although recently there has been a shift in trends as fitness and being healthy becomes more popular, meaning that fitness trackers can keep up with demand in the industry. However, some argue that that these fitness trackers and apps don’t work and that all they actually do is make us more glued to our phones and devices.
It can be said that one third of people who buy a FitBit or fitness tracker will stop using them within six months. The assumption that many people have is that if you wear the Fitness watch you will be fitter. However, it is unclear to actually how much fitter it makes you.
One issue to do with the inaccuracy of the FitBit is the step counter. Considering that your steps are calculated from your movement throughout the day, it is hard to exactly determine the amount of steps. This is because if you move your hand to grab your cup of tea, the FitBit may think you have moved two steps… Or if you’re clapping your hands, using your phone or eating your dinner the FitBit may calculate this movement as steps and give false readings.
Another problem with the step and calorie counter is the issue of becoming addicted to getting certain scores or numbers. For some people it may mean they develop an eating disorder or a bad relationship with fitness. This also may lead to an increase in mental health issues. Although serious cases may be rare, mild cases of addiction for these technologies is worrying for the future for the industry.
Forbes also highlighted that while wearables are known to feed us helpful information during a workout, a concern is that many people that use them regularly are still not so sure what to do with the data once they have it. It may be a healthy way for people who don’t usually work out to become more active, but if people are not using it correctly then it is no longer effective. For example, if someones FitBit tells them they still need to do 5,000 more steps to complete their daily goal, they could think “oh i’ll just walk around the house to make up the numbers”. The ‘congratulations’ text you receive off FitBit once you have done this also gives people this recognition, and therefore could lead to the usage of these technologies to be be less effective.
The idea that your personal results can be recorded, remembered, shared and give you tips on how to improve in what areas is exactly where the fitness industry is going. The personalisation of these technologies is what is making the apps more valuable than ever before.
It’s this personalization in the health tech space that will eventually help people realize there’s much more to this industry than a smartwatch telling you what your heart rate is. While it’s not a mainstream notion just yet, it will be and when it does, it will shake up the wearables space and revolutionise the way people work out and stay healthy!
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