If you don’t already have one strapped around your wrist, you probably know someone who does. Smartwatches and wearable activity trackers are stepping up in popularity, and so are fitness-related mobile apps.

Experts predict that fit tech will play a huge role in the future of fitness and wellness. However, as popular as it is, it’s still in its early stages, which lands the fitness industry in a bit of a conundrum. The tech world is already redefining the fitness landscape—mostly from outside our industry. Meanwhile, many fitness pros (who aren’t necessarily early adopters) are jockeying to determine how relevant this technology is for themselves, their clients and their jobs.

As fitness technology advances, so does its integration with everything, or close to everything, we do. Here lies the conundrum. Many fitness pros are behind on their fit tech knowledge and application. A lot of clients and prospects, especially young ones, are farther along. While there will always be a valid argument for “exercise unplugged,” more corners of the industry need to embrace technology, and quickly.

Interest in smartwatches, activity trackers and health/fitness apps is growing rapidly.

  • According to a June 2014 survey from
    Endeavour Partners, a strategy consulting firm and think tank, “Three times as many U.S. consumers responded that they obtained a smart wearable in the last 6-month period than the 6-month period prior” (Endeavour Partners 2014b).
  • A report from Parks Associates says that more than 40 million smartphone owners are active users of at least one wellness or fitness app. The report also predicted a boost in these numbers thanks to the Apple Watch hitting the market (Parks Associates 2015a). Note: As of April 2015, the Apple Watch had received almost 1 million preorders.
  • Parks Associates forecasts that smart-phone-connected tracking devices and equipment will be a $5.4 billion industry by 2019 (it rang in at $2 billion in 2014) (Parks Associates 2015b).

To read more about the benefits and potential hurdles of fitness technology, please see “Fitness Technology Conundrum” in the online IDEA Library or in the July-August 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

Amanda Vogel, MA

Amanda Vogel, MA, is a fitness professional and the owner of Active Voice, a writing, editing and consulting service for fitness professionals. She writes for IDEA, Health, Prevention, and Self, and has co-authored books on postnatal fitness and yoga. With a master's degree in human kinetics, Amanda has worked in the fitness industry for more than 15 years, including time spent as a program director and vice president for a chain of all-women clubs in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Leave a Comment

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.