The fitness industry is absolutely obsessed with the Internet of Things. From being tracking and aggregating the data behind our diet and activity to maximizing our routines, there seems to be a health app used for everything. Yet, with so many players entering the market, this industry is in for a big change. From large to small firms, it seems as though the IoT is turning fitness from a trend for someone into a full-blown lifestyle. Below we’ve listed out a few examples of how these shifts are coming about.
Wearables Are Still A Big Player
Over the past few years, we’ve seen wearables explode onto the scene in the fitness world. Almost everyone owns a Fitbit or are tracking their goals with apps like Google Fit, Apple Health, or Nike Running. And as Men’s Health points out from their coverage of CES, more innovations are on the way.
While mainstays like Fitbit have been steadily making improvements to their trackers, other services have blossomed, including Polar-10, a heart rate monitor and Lumo Run, a personal running coach. But perhaps one of the coolest devices they point out is the Halo Sport, a set of headphones used to prime your brain for muscle movement. While the price tag is a little steep, the tech behind it is groundbreaking in being the first of its kind. Expect Halo to be huge when more offerings come about.
As wearables have set the foundation for our love of tech and fitness, the future’s looking bright for what’s to come. Expect more of the major players to add more features to keep with engagement, as well as new folks looking to spark big changes.
The Simplest Things Are Making the Biggest Difference
Beyond just our love for wearables and devices, accessories are starting to make a significant impact in the IoT as well. While a lot of the major companies that have been around even before this tech came together are making waves, there are tons of startups springing up that are making incredible strides as well.
An excellent example is Hidrate Spark, a smart water bottle that tracks your water intake. While it may seem like a simple idea, Hidrate Spark is changing the game for how we keep up with hydrating ourselves. What started in 2014 as a startup pitch prototype has now transformed into a device that integrates with not only their Hydration app, but with Fitbit, Apple Watch, and MyFitnessPal as well.
Users can set a daily intake goal, which the bottle helps you reach by glowing, thus letting the user now that hydration is due. The app also allows the user to access a hydration history, to get a glimpse on how well (or how poor) your water consumption has been. It is also possible to add friends and watch their progress, making hydrating a team sport.
Expect these guys to make a major impact on the industry as more versions come about and help consumers stay healthy with technology.
Use Tech To Encourage, Not Control
While all of these improvements in the industry have been great, there’s a caveat to how we behave with them that’s impacted our outlook on fitness. As Johnny Adamic points out for The Daily Beast, a growing trend amongst users is too much reliance on our apps, not our bodies to tell us what to do. And as Adamic points out, this can be dangerous in achieving our goals for a few reasons.
First, while these products have gotten smarter and smarter at tracking and analyzing our progress, they don’t tell us exactly everything. For example, even if your app tells you to go up in weight for lifting, that doesn’t necessarily account for what you’ve done outside of your gym progress that should be accounted for. This can lead to discouragement in progress, eventually leading to throwing in the towel.
Another great point is that many feel we’ve been treating these products more like a game rather than a lifetime goal. As one-third of Fitbit users ditch their device six months into ownership, a big contributor to that is we feel more motivated by working out or tracking progress for our apps, not for ourselves. While yes, this idea of competition with our peers or personal progress can be a great motivator, it should be used as an auxiliary element to a bigger goal, not the other way around.
In looking towards future trends, use this technology to help promote your fitness goals and streamline them into a quantifiable form, but don’t make them the end priority. A healthy lifestyle is a continuous objective, something that should be focused on regardless of what’s on your wrist or phone. Remember to treat it our technology as a supporting character to it, and you’ll be off to the races in no time.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.