How many times have you exclaimed ‘I want one of those’? From designer handbags and shoes to the latest beauty products, I think all of us are guilty of a little product lust at some point or another. But only recently have I stared to desire the fitness and wearable tech!
Fitness technology began with apps such as Runkeeper and MyFitnessPal, then since 2014 we have seen an influx of new wearable fitness and lifestyle bands. Nike FuelBand, Jawbone and Fitbit exploded onto the mainstream market and now it’s perfectly normal to find people staring longingly at their wrists in the gym clocking up those last few steps or calories.
Other than these now household names, plenty of other brands have tried to take a slice of the wearable fitness (low calorie!) pie. Gaming company Razer, established mobile vendor LG and even outdoor brands like Garmin and Magellan have all developed fitness tech devices.
Yet with all this choice the market continues to be dominated by lower cost smart wristbands rather than premium priced smartwatches. Around 76% of the units sold in the second half of 2015 were smart wristbands, such as those produced by Fitbit and Garmin.
Smartwatches have been less successful in attracting the mainstream buyer. However their connectivity and ability to interact with other devices is quickly becoming the ‘in demand’ feature increasing the popularity for these pricier options. Allowing smart devices that interact and work with each other for a unified experience seems a logical move, I don’t want my watch, iPod, iPhone and my heart rate monitor strapped to me on my run. Other than weighing me down and ruining any chance of that PB, (which was of course definitely going to happen any day now) it’s just annoying – wires everywhere!
I don’t see wearables such as the new Fitbit Blaze as a replacement to these individual devices but for the wearable to interact with them all whilst I’m on the go, providing a more optimised digital experience.
This year the TCS Digital Fitness Survey surveyed 2,000 British recreational athletes to examine the impact that digital fitness technologies, such as smartphone applications and wearable fitness trackers, are having on the UK’s health and fitness pr. The study showed 82% of those surveyed now use some kind of fitness technology – a pretty impressive figure!
Three quarters of those surveyed say that they exercise more since using fitness technology. Finally we have a development that‘s encouraging us to get fit in our own way, and unlike fads such as WiiFit we can actually fit this into our busy everyday lives.
The average male runner has spent £93 on fitness technology overall, compared to £72 for the average female. This is relatively unsurprising to me, as I think it’s more important for men to be ‘the first’ with latest tech, whereas us girls will take the time and choose what we feel will really impact and enhance our specific workout needs – and perhaps something that fits our everyday style. Many trackers like the Bellabeat LEAF are now emerging combining women’s fashion, and are much easier to wear like earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
Finally and rather hilariously, one in ten people have put their fitness tracker on their pet to make it look like they have taken more steps or travelled further; equally, 10 percent of people admit to putting their fitness tracker on a child to boost their statistics. Why the heck didn’t I think of this!
There are of course still huge steps still to be made, battery life is a common gripe when it comes to any smart technology, and the sporting industry is crying out for full sport integration. For example wearable t-shirts such as The Hexoskin seem to be the next big step. The t-shirts include a performance compression shirt and removable sensor module. It is able to track breathing volume and patterns, heart rate, and activity! I mean wow, once they aren’t hundreds of pounds you can count me in for one of those too!
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