As society grapples with the effects of the pandemic, people are changing their lifestyles in favor of healthier lives. This shift is evident when you look at how the fitness industry has done over the past year. Tech integrations and increasing digitalization have changed the way consumers (fitness enthusiasts) access fitness solutions, as well as the way providers (personal trainers and gyms) offer their services.
While fitness technology and digital fitness were already on the rise, they are dominating the fitness industry in the post-pandemic landscape. In the first two quarters of 2020 alone, health and fitness apps saw downloads increase by 46% worldwide. In India, the number of downloads increased at a remarkable rate 156%.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the key technology-driven trends that are reshaping the health and fitness sectors.
- Virtual live coaches: Connected fitness enabled by intelligent technologies is becoming increasingly popular with fitness enthusiasts in more developed markets. New age gamers allow people to follow their preferred fitness regimen at home under the guidance of a virtual trainer who helps fitness enthusiasts correct their shapes and postures in real time for optimal results. Interactive technologies will become even more popular in the post-pandemic world, especially considering the lockdowns broke the misconception that fitness training is only possible in stationary gyms.
- Personalized training plans: Wearable devices have become indispensable in the wellness sector. Wearable technology enables fitness enthusiasts to track their training and progress via an app or a fitness tracker. Such devices collect huge amounts of data about the user. Leading fitness players are now leveraging advanced machine learning algorithms to harness data-derived insights that enable personalized exercise and nutrition plans in line with an individual’s unique health profile and goals. This has led to better results and more usability for the technology-oriented platforms. There are also solutions under development that can track metabolic activities and vital signs throughout the day to give users a deeper idea of how their diet and exercise plan is affecting their mind and body. As technology gets smarter, personalized healthcare systems become more specific, accurate, and deliver more effective outcomes.
- For holistic health: The virus outbreak has made the importance of mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing clearer. When fitness enthusiasts started accessing virtual fitness services, they knew it had to be more than just physical exercise that they were used to in the pre-pandemic era. The definition of fitness and wellness has now been expanded to include a healthy diet, good sleep, mindfulness and a healthy work-life balance.
As more and more people take a holistic approach to health and wellness, the demand for meditation and mindfulness apps has increased. At the same time, the increasing demand for digitally guided fitness solutions has also led to an increase in the range of courses for various workouts such as spinning, Zumba and yoga. What used to be only available through gyms and personal trainers is now available through subscription services at home.
- For a hybrid and hygienic future: The future of the fitness industry is a hybrid that combines the best of the digital and physical world. The fear of accidental transmission is the only deterrent in the immediate post-pandemic landscape preventing fitness enthusiasts from returning to the gym. Fitness centers address this problem by ensuring strict adherence to safety and hygiene protocols in inpatient facilities. For example, leading gym and club management service providers offer a vaccination status tracking feature to provide added security and security to users and employees. Such upgrades can optimize the fitness experience of modern fitness enthusiasts.
Digital platforms and fitness technology will continue to transform the fitness and wellness industry and play a vital role in helping people stay fit and healthy not only from the comfort of their own home, but also in a hybrid, post-pandemic future. And given the benefits this paradigm shift enables, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the trends both existing and emerging will persist for the foreseeable future.
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The views expressed above are the author’s own.