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Tuesday - January 4, 2022

How Fitness Equipment Has Evolved for Home Use

New Year resolutions typically revolve around activities that help improve one’s overall health and wellbeing such as engaging in a new exercise or diet regimen. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust health, both physical and mental, into the spotlight and created a need for effective wellness solutions that allow for social distancing. Many people have returned to in-person workouts at gyms and health clubs, but others have embraced the privacy, safety, comfort and flexibility of working out at home.

Home workouts were popular even before the pandemic. However, when gyms were shuttered their popularity grew exponentially because people had no alternative. Sales of fitness equipment originally dipped, then rebounded quickly as consumers rushed to outfit their home gyms. The maker of a popular connected bike with a subscription-based business model witnessed over 200% year over year revenue growth. Analysts predict that a hybrid approach will benefit fitness consumers the most – one in which users can stay safe while maintaining a sense of community engagement.

Connected, Wireless and Smart

Lots of companies, from startups to established corporations, have launched fitness apps in recent years to address the need for digital fitness solutions. These apps help users stay connected, socialize and keep on track with their fitness goals. High-end fitness equipment manufacturers are also creating apps to engage their users further while raking in revenue from subscriptions and memberships. This equipment connects wirelessly to a user’s device to track workouts and progress that can be viewed in real time.

In the age of IoT, new devices are expected to be smart in addition to being connected. While the definition of a “smart device” contains some grey area, it typically refers to a gadget that can sense input and provide feedback to the user. Smart stationary bikes are able to send information on cadence, resistance and speed that a user can see instantly and adjust accordingly to improve their workout. To get the most out of a workout, some athletes and fitness enthusiasts have turned to sensor-based solutions that can measure more nuanced concepts such as form and performance.

Sensor Feedback Helps Optimize Workouts

How can professional or amateur athletes use technology to improve their performance? New sensing devices are being developed that focus on fitness consumers, and are able to analyze metrics such as form, gait, movement and more. Human or AI coaches can then analyze this data and recommend steps to optimize an athlete’s performance. 

Long distance runners are prone to injuries from overuse, inadequate strength training or poor form. A few startups have developed an insole with a sensor array that can detect where a runner’s foot makes contact with the ground. For example, if a runner is striking their heels more often, the sensors will alert the user to adjust their gait in order to optimize their footstrike pattern. Fewer injuries benefit athletes’ overall wellness and allow them to keep training.

Innovations Drive New Workouts & Engagement

There was a lot of new and interesting fitness equipment and CES in 2020. From smart mirrors equipped with strength training hardware to virtual reality-based workouts, the fitness world is adapting to the new digital reality. As CES 2022 fast approaches, what new fitness trends do you think we will see?

Fernando Palarca
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