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Remember as children we used to play more physical games and take part in activities such as football and cricket? As we grew up, we were more physical in our daily activities, which helped us to keep physically fit.
But in the last few years, digital has changed this picture. My children are glued to iPads and smartphones most of the time. Digital technologies have brought a tremendous shift in the way we spend our daily lives. We order our foods online, we call cabs on our smartphones, we no longer visit banks in person since we do most of our transactions online, and in the age of Whatsapp, nobody uses the post to send a news to anyone.
This convenience and comfort has resulted in a sedentary lifestyle and multiple health issues, but more people are wanting to live a healthier lifestyle without burning a hole in their wallets. The fitness industry is also adopting this digital change.
Some global fitness franchises launched an on-demand streaming service in the USA and UK that lets people access workouts online any time from a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Instead of going to the gym now, consumers work out in their own time and in their own locations, but trainers and coaches can access their workout data from anywhere, providing quick feedback and tips to guide them along their fitness journey. The exercises are also available in different levels of difficulty: simple, medium and difficult.
Digital devices are more and more playing the role of a personal trainer. Anyone who wants to train just needs the right fitness app.
Freeletics Bodyweight app is more than just a training program. They have a community of over 12 million Free Athletes all over the world. The app provides users with a unique social platform that allows them to connect, motivate and inspire one another and achieve and share their progress and fitness goals.
An athletic apparel brand Athos has a full-body suit fitted with tracking sensors connected to an app that shows which muscles are firing and how much an exerciser is exerting him or herself.
Another company, Focus Motion, is building products that connect with a smartwatch to automatically track motion and give real-time feedback on an exerciser’s form or pace.
Equinox was the first chain to partner with Apple when it launched its Healthkit smartphone app in June 2015. The app syncs with members’ wearable technologies to track fitness data, analyze member behavior, and provide users with recommendations, tips, and content to improve their fitness routines. The digital coach in Equinox’s mobile app uses artificial intelligence to learn customers’ habits and keep them engaged.
Fitbit, Apple, Garmin, Samsung, Nike and Adidas are among the major suppliers of the digital fitness market.
Fitbit tells you you’ve completed 80% of your daily 15,000 steps goal. So you walk around the house and make an excuse to go to the shop to achieve your target.
Nike came out with Fuelband, a fitness-oriented tech device which helped consumers to set fitness goals, monitor their progression, and compare themselves to others, all with integration into the Nike+ online community and phone application.
For those who still prefer to visit the gym, wearable technologies have helped by giving real-time feedback on workouts. From shirts to shoes, wearable technology is now embedded in several types of fitness apparel. Profiles for runs or cycle rides are recorded using the GPS function. The data for distance, speed, duration, calories burnt and heart rate is captured to support the design of personalized training programs.
Modern-day gyms are now equipped with workouts that are digitized for their clients to get more out of their exercise equipment. Going digital enables the user to choose the level of difficulty of their workout just by pushing some buttons.
Today, sensors are inserted into pieces of clothing like socks, shorts, leggings, sports bra, etc. These are designed to improve the efficacy of wearable trackers, making them highly discreet and increasingly accurate. The algorithms are mimicking a personal coach, tracking activity and technique while simultaneously picking up clues to predict the possibility of injury.
Holofit uses the virtual reality technology that transports its users from boring reality in a fitness center or hotel gym to real-life destinations, sports events or imaginative worlds. Users get to work out in space or underwater, in the Grand Canyon or in historic Babylon, making progress while forgetting they are working out at all. They have also added the gamification and sports competition through its SportPlay application so you can take part in competitions like the Tour de France.
Social media platforms like Facebook and photo/video sharing platforms like Instagram are making a trend of posting your fitness efforts and encourage your friends and families to participate.
There is also a growing trend of companies offering workplace wellness technologies and programs that are helping achieve better productivity and reduce employee turnover.
Furthermore, this smart data is being used by the Insurance industry for wellness and prevention of disease.
The fitness industry has come a long way with digital.
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