While fitness tech has been one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world since 2016, the pandemic might just have triggered the sharpest growth in the industry yet. Digital fitness trends will shape the next decade. Fitness providers were also beginning to identify the demand for virtual training and recognize the potential of online services which are giving rise to an era of technology-driven fitness.
In the months before the pandemic, fitness enthusiasts were starting to incorporate their wearables with at-home fitness and outdoor workouts like cross-functional training, kickboxing, piloxing, and a variety of other new exercise activities.
Fitness providers were also beginning to see the increased demand for virtual training and recognized the potential of online services. The pandemic and resulting lockdowns pushed both to quickly embrace these technology-driven alternatives, giving rise to an era of technology-driven fitness.
In 2022, as the pandemic recedes, technology will unlock ways for the industry to boost both its online and offline offerings. Here are some of the trends that will become more prominent in the months to come.
The Digital Fitness Trends Will Shape the Next Decade
A fully integrated fitness experience:
Consumers expect a seamless digital fitness experience that fits their lifestyle, with a combination of classes that are live, virtual in-club and on-demand. Successful clubs will offer a range of workouts and a wide variety of fitness options online and offline. Tracking changes and trends for seasonality and class popularity is also vital to keeping schedules fresh.
Expect more innovative virtual and live experiences, including holographic technology. Longer term, the hope is to create an interactive, augmented reality workout that touches on multiple senses, allowing the participant to be completely immersed.
As the demand for digital fitness grows, inspirational individuals remain a unique selling point that rivals can’t copy. High-quality instructors are more in-demand than ever, creating a competitive environment that can help clubs attract and retain members.
The fitness industry grew up with baby boomers and Gen X, but the game has changed and so must the approach of clubs. Research shows that millennials and Gen Z now make up 80 percent of health club members and account for 89 percent of total users of online or app-based workouts. Members of Generation Active have different tastes from their predecessors and expect technology as standard to enhance their workout experience.
AI and Analytics Emerge as Key Drivers
Wearables were the top trend of 2020 and will likely maintain their hold on the fitness sector in the coming year — if not emerge stronger. This trend stems from precise health information these devices collect, allowing fitness seekers to design their workouts to address specific concerns and meet carefully identified goals.
With the increased focus on at-home fitness, users will team their virtual workouts with a range of devices, including fitness trackers, smartwatches, heart rate monitors, and GPS trackers. Furthermore, the advent of smart clothing like vibrating leggings and biometric shirts shows that innovation in the fitness wearables space has only just begun.
The focus will also be on data collected from fitness wearables that, coupled with artificial intelligence, opens a range of possibilities for the industry. Considering that wearable apps have already permeated through almost all verticals of the fitness industry, the future will likely see a growth in data-driven holistic workouts, highly personalized coaching, and Virtual Reality sports and training programs. AI-based solutions are also likely to find greater adoption in 2022.
Fitness apps integrated with AI and machine learning, for example, can now provide virtual assistants who, much like human trainers, educate people on correct postures and provide efficient one-on-one feedback.
The technologies are also helping to enhance existing fitness tools. AI-powered wearables, for example, can detect irregularities in health data and give early warnings for conditions such as diabetes or heart diseases.
Similarly, AI-powered intelligent footwear and yoga suits can monitor movements and alert users on incorrect postures. Fitness apps are also innovating with artificial intelligence consistently to create products like smart assistants for gyms and studios or diet planners that account for individual calorie requirements based on user lifestyle.