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Newest Fitness Technology Trends

Wearables are making significant advances.

Fitness technology has increasingly become a key element of program design for many personal trainers—we’ve come a long way since pedometers! It seems step trackers and smartwatches were just the beginning; now the industry is blossoming with sweat sensors, skin patches, smart clothing and even contact lenses. What can fitness professionals look forward to in the wearable fit tech space?

Fitness Technology Demand

What is “wearable technology,” or “wearables”? This fit tech category includes electronic devices worn as accessories, embedded in clothing or implanted in the body. These hands-free devices have many practical uses and are generally powered by enhanced microprocessors that send and receive data. The wearables industry has had its ups and downs, and not every prototype—no matter how promising—makes it. However, thanks to important advances, health-tracking wearables are becoming ubiquitous. Part of the demand comes from consumers (also known as your clients!) wanting to do a better job of monitoring their health. The demand is real: the market is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 18% a year, from $116B to $265 billion by 2026.

People are looking for the best thing beyond a smartwatch, and it pays for fitness professionals to be aware of what’s available.

Fitness Technology Smart Rings

A smart ring has sensors and near field communication (NFC) chips that mainly track daily activities and act as a “peripheral tool to support mobile devices.” An alternative to smartwatches, smart ring applications do much more than monitor steps. Oura touts that it “measures the physiological signals of your body.” Other ring options include Movano, which targets women and strives to be a stylish, medical-grade device, and Circular, also marketed to women, which tracks sleep, energy levels and heart rate.

See also: How to Integrate Fit Tech Into Your Business.

 

Sensory Overload: Smart Clothing

Smart clothing is another area on pace to expand. This category, according to MarketsandMarkets™, is projected to reach $5.3 billion by 2024. Your clients may be wearing something with Cipher Skin, smart sensor technology that can be wirelessly integrated into apparel. WHOOP body, a “smart clothing line featuring Any-Wear sensor technology,” wants to keep fitness-minded people on track with their goals.

Also referred to as “connected apparel,” this category isn’t quite mainstream, but big tech companies are betting on it. Apparel that’s tech-integrated may help people with continuous wellness tracking, which could go a long way toward successful behavior change and accountability.

A Sweaty Future

Scientists are busy developing sensors that attach directly to the skin and may enable exercisers to leave their devices at home one day. Analysts project the electronic skin patch market to top $18 billion by 2027. Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, created a skin patch that continuously tracks blood pressure and heart rate while monitoring glucose, caffeine and alcohol levels. Researchers at Samsung’s Advanced Institute of Technology developed a stretchable device that feels “like part of your skin” and shows biometric data without the need for an external device.

The future of program design is lining up to be more personalized than ever before, and personal trainers have a unique window of opportunity to develop a business model that includes fitness technology.

 

See also: New Wearables Can Measure Body Chemistry



Joy Keller

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor and yoga teacher (RYT 200). She has been working as a business to business journalist for more than 25 years and specializes in custom communication and content strategy/ production.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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