The fitness revolution

02/08/2021

Innovation permeates every aspect of our lives, and fitness is not immune. Technology means there’s a plethora of fitness apps, and tech certainly plays a big part in our daily tracking activities, from step counts to our gait, distance run, calories consumed and amount of sleep.

Gathering data with such ease means we are now firmly in a new era of health management, thanks to innovation.

Especially in the UAE, where the soaring summer temperatures often mean we are predisposed to seek indoor exercise activities, there are a number of clever solutions which allow us to experience the joy of feeling fit in the comfort of our own homes.

Peloton is one such example. I admire Peloton as a company, which began in 2012, and has since gained around US$1 billion in funding.

A true fitness revolution, the company provides stationary bicycles linked to online classes, challenges and data-driven fitness goals. Peloton was the first fitness company to integrate hardware, software and content in one tech-powered product.

The company has attracted a cult global following (currently with around 2 million subscribers) – underlining how much we love the convergence of technology and fitness.

Of course, the pandemic saw many fitness companies – especially gyms and fitness studios, pivot to providing classes online. Thanks to technology, we were all given the tools to stay – or get – fit from our living rooms.

Trackers such as Fitbit mean we can keep a watchful eye on the daily distance we are covering, while smart phone technology means today we can even examine our gait, speed, heart rate and blood pressure.

I see a number of trends to watch out for in this space.

Wearable technology

Fitness trackers like Apple Watches, Fitbit, Polar and Garmin devices became 2020’s must-wear accessories. There’s good reason for it, too – research shows using a fitness tracker for just 12 weeks can help increase and maintain your overall physical activity for years to come.

And the latest innovation? Using bioelectronic technology to enhance performance and help treat chronic pain. Bioelectronic-enabled devices administer a low dose electrical current to elicit a physiological response – either pain relief or tissue repair.

This improves exercise recovery and optimises the body’s tissues, maximising performance.

More investment in heavy-duty home equipment

Changed by the pandemic, we will see more people investing in technology-focused kit – and we’re back to Peloton. With a current three-month waiting list for its stationary bikes, Peloton is also launching a treadmill.

Digital technology is enabling people to take control of their lives and make their workouts that much more accessible and convenient.

Technology holds great appeal to the average consumer as it enables us to gather data and analyse our performance, or work towards goals, for example.

The growth of online fitness communities

From hot yoga to barre classes and fun workouts with the kids, fitness brands and gyms have spent 2020 digitalising training programmes to provide them both on demand and via live streaming.

This has created a global digital community accessible from your own home.

In 2021, these communities are set to grow even bigger, as companies are looking to expand into virtual events, as well as classes online. Meanwhile, ‘virtual’ marathons and long-term distance goals are becoming common online.

Workouts for the body AND mind

Any yoga convert knows training that strengthens the mind as well as the body isn’t new. However, the pandemic really brought the importance of fitness as a mental health benefit to the fore.

This explains the emergence of fitness spaces offering mental and physical wellbeing. Such spaces combine counsellors, physiotherapists and nutritionists with physical fitness classes under one roof, for a holistic approach to health.

Community-driven classes will integrate positive affirmations, shifting fitness beyond just aesthetics.

Going wild

Wilderness-focused fitness programmes such as desert trekking, sea kayaking, rock climbing and wild swimming will be filling up our Instagram feeds this summer, as we make the most of our rediscovered freedom to explore the great outdoors.

When innovation delivers good health, good feelings and a better quality of life for us all, isn’t it time to embrace and celebrate technology? I hope you enjoy finding a new activity or sport this summer, backed by state-of-the-art technology.

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