The Evolving Role of Technology in our Pursuit of Fitness

In the past few years, the role of technology in our lives has evolved greatly – going across more touch points while entrenching itself deeper in the areas already present. We use our phones for a plethora of activities – we buy movie tickets online, use maps to bring us to our destinations, and easily figure out how title loans work – using our car as a temporary guarantee.

In contrast, we check in on our job applications and payslips at the same time. This convenience continues to increase as more businesses transit to an online presence on the back of Covid-19.

Personal fitness an increasing trend

One of the many industries to see a big change is the personal fitness industry. As the pandemic continues to fluctuate worldwide, the emphasis on health and fitness has seen a huge surge. Demand for fitness trackers grew 32% in 2019 alone and should keep growing as these devices are proven to push people to move more.

The industry’s key changes are improvements to the technology in wearables and the evolution in how consumers are engaging in becoming fit.

The improvement of fitness wearables

What started as fitness step trackers have evolved into full-scale fitness tracking smartwatches as mobile giants like Apple and Samsung and fitness pioneers such as Garmin and Fitbit come into the foray. This opportunity gives consumers plenty of choices based on what they want and how much they are willing to pay for them. We have basic step tracking on one end with the MI band ($50) to devices with GPS trackers and electrocardiogram (ECG) on the Apple Watch ($600), with both equally able to keep you connected to your phone at all times. This constant evolution of technology in our watches is, in turn, fueled for increased demand for wearables with the increased awareness of the need for exercise.

Quantifiable Fitness

With these enhanced features, technology has made fitness quantifiable, much to the delight of data lovers such as myself. We know exactly how fast we have run, how far we ran, and how much fitter we have become compared to a few months ago through the use of GPS and VO2 max indicators. This technology is available across multiple types of exercise such as swimming, cycling, and more. However, we are not the only ones to like data. Companies such as Apple, Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit all work with our data to motivate us. Badges given for completing goals are now standard, with different plans catered for the specific individual for each month. We are then encouraged to share data with our friends – be it on the Apple platform where we can compete with friends for badges or on Strava, where we can give kudos to friends post-exercise while signing up for challenges to earn badges.

Government program partnerships

2020 also saw Singapore incentivize its citizens to move in a pilot partnership with Apple, which launched the Lumihealth app. In completing fitness goals such as exercise minutes and completing quizzes related to different health conditions, Apple Watch users in Singapore converted points gained on the app into vouchers for use in supermarkets, drugstores, and other partner stores across the app island.

This app has aided the government’s campaigns against health issues such as diabetes and obesity.

With the continual focus on health, we can expect to see further evolution of technology and increased innovative uses and applications from companies and countries alike in the years to come. The next step is then how governments can work to help individuals detect possible underlying issues while at the same time keeping this data secure.

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