It’s that time again – we’ve put on a few pounds thanks to Christmas turkey and a week of lazing around and just generally relaxing. Inevitably, thoughts begin to fix some of the damage and, especially for the geeks among us, how technology could help us with that.
5 key health and fitness tech trends for 2023
Health and fitness technology is big business – the market for fitness trackers alone is projected to reach nearly $100 billion by the end of 2025. With all the major mobile device makers competing for a piece of the pie at the same time, a new market for in-home fitness tech has emerged thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown. Here’s my rundown of the top technology trends in this space over the next 12 months.
Health and Fitness in the Metaverse
What is the metaverse? Well, the jury is still out – it could be a lot of overblown nonsense, or it could be the future of the internet! We should know for sure in a few years, but in the meantime many of the constituent technologies that Metaverse advocates say will make up the new, more immersive, and experiential online world are becoming firmly embedded in everyday life.
Take virtual and augmented reality, for example. Both are expected to play key roles in the creation of the metaverse, and are also proving popular with tech-savvy health and fitness fans. Many different workout programs can already be delivered via VR headsets covering cardio fitness and strength training. Popular examples include the FitXR app, which offers high-intensity guided interval training sessions. You can also participate in simulated, immersive golf, boxing, fencing, and many other sporting activities, all of which gamify the training experience to keep users active and engaged.
Wearables are becoming more sophisticated and powerful
Fitness trackers like the Fitbit bracelets, as well as smartwatches like Apple, Pixel, and Samsung models with built-in fitness tracking capabilities have been with us for a while. Over the next year we will see them becoming more sophisticated, with more powerful and flexible sensors capable of monitoring our daily routine and giving us AI-powered feedback. In recent years, manufacturers have added EKG scanners, which can measure electrical signals in the heart to provide early warning of potentially life-threatening conditions like atrial fibrillation. Another recent development is Sp02 monitoring, which can warn of conditions affecting lung function, including Covid-19.
With research showing that one in five Americans now wears a fitness tracker or smartwatch with health monitoring capabilities, we’re now collecting and analyzing more health data than ever before. In 2013, this information overload will help develop new techniques to identify health problems and understand how our bodies are affected by our daily activities and the world around us. This will lead to the development of new treatments and therapies that will ultimately contribute to better health and fitness for all.
App-based home workout classes
The pandemic has forced gyms to close, leaving many of us confined to our homes. Although restrictions have been lifted in many parts of the world, it seems we’ve developed a fondness for at-home workouts delivered via apps. The cost-of-living crisis raging in many parts of the world is also likely to be a factor here, as costly gym memberships are often among the first expenses people look to cut to reduce spending.
In recent years we’ve seen the development of more powerful and sophisticated features – like the Artifit AI-powered personal trainer app, which uses computer vision through your smartphone camera to provide real-time feedback on form and posture.
We’re also likely to see more traditional health and fitness-focused organizations jumping on the AI-powered app trend – another example is WW (formerly Weight Watchers), which has created its own app-based ecosystem, the AI for Diet and activity monitoring uses metrics, including exercise and sleep patterns.
As life gets busier and more people work longer hours or take on multiple jobs to make ends meet, apps and home workouts are making it easier to fit workouts into our busy lives where a trip to the gym might not be possible .
Smart Home Gyms
Another trend driven by the Covid-19 pandemic has seen home gym equipment become part of the Internet of Things (IoT), meaning we can now have home gyms packed with smart ones , connected versions of exercise bikes, treadmills and other fitness equipment.
Peloton is undoubtedly the most recognizable name in this game – buying their equipment and subscribing to their services gives users the opportunity to take part in live classes with real-time interactions with other users as well as trainers. You also have the option to compete for positions on the leaderboard, which adds a level of gamification.
Peloton may have paved the way for smart home fitness hardware, but other players are hot on their heels and aim to become household names in 2023 as well. JaxJox creates smart kettlebells and dumbbells that let you change your weight with the push of a button, while Vitrivian’s TheTrainer+ offers a “gym on one platform” that includes a whole suite of strength training and resistance exercises on one connected platform.
Despite the fact that many of us now have access to gyms and outdoor exercise facilities, it seems that the convenience and accessibility of exercising at home is hard to beat. Because of this, I think smart home gyms and fitness equipment will remain a strong trend in 2023.
Think about mental health too!
Often overlooked, but there is one lesson we must learn in order to navigate the difficult times ahead and that is the importance of taking care of our mental health.
Headspace and Calm are two well-known apps that aim to promote mindfulness and reduce stress as a technology-driven answer to the challenges of the modern world. Both have seen increases in user numbers over the past few years, and I expect this will continue into the year to come.
Just as we see home workout apps and smart fitness gadgets designed to improve physical fitness, we can also expect a surge in similar products and services focused on yoga, personalized therapies, mindfulness and stress reduction.
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