Author: Shayna Fawcett, Fitness Fanatic
Words to Live By
In the words of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” And it looks like there are A LOT of happy [and fit] people in 2015.
The digital fitness craze is on, and has been for some time. The health and fitness community has seen incredible growth over the last few years because of new wearable accessories and smartphone technology emerging in the market. We’ve come a long way since 2011, when gadgets such as these seemed to be unrealistic and unlikely to catch on. With development of the Nike+ Fuel Band, Fitbit and now Apple Watch, the wearable technology industry is set to be worth $80 billion by 2020.
We can now monitor our vital statistics in everyday life, from how many steps we’ve taken in a day to our heart rate, and even track how many calories we’re eating…and it all can be accessed from the palm of our hands (or our wrists!).
If any one of my colleagues at Click Here Labs were to describe my favorite hobby, they would without a doubt say it was working out. I’m what they call a “fitness fanatic” (but not too crazy of one). I love being outside, whether it’s biking, hiking, or doing hill sprints, pushups or even 25 burpees at my outdoor boot camp.
I come from a very active family of marathon runners, cyclists, triathletes, gymnasts and tennis players. While I was home for the Thanksgiving holiday, I noticed all the different gadgets and apps that my family was using to monitor, track and even work out to. Mom and Dad were keeping track of their 65-mile bike rides with their newest Garmins, my sister was using the latest Nike Training Club for her workouts (and her Garmin), and I was monitoring my heart rate via a heart rate watch.
In the last year, mobile health and fitness apps have seen an increase of 62% in consumer usage and are growing faster than the overall smartphone market. What contributed to this growth? Wearable devices such as Jawbone Up, Garmin and Fitbit are helping fitness fanatics (like yours truly) track and share their physical progress.
It’s Going Social, Too
Fitness apps in the last year have started integrating more with social media, making it easier for the people who use them to share their progress with friends. MapMyRun allows users to share the distance they’ve run, walked or cycled with their friends, family and co-workers in their social networks.
Fitness Fanatics, Wearables and Digital Technology
Another contributor in the health and fitness craze has been the increase of technology available within users’ mobile and tablet devices. Cellphones now include motion trackers, GPS systems and batteries that could make even the savviest wearable Jawbone Up device look primitive. According to Stephanie Tilenius of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, by 2017, 30% of U.S. consumers will be wearing a device to track food, exercise, heart rate and other critical vital signs.
This past September, Apple released HealthKit in iOS 8, along with a preview of their new Apple Watch. HealthKit offers the ability to track and share a vast range of health, fitness and medical data across multiple apps and devices. It can be used as a wellness and fitness tool – aggregating information about diet, activity, exercise and sleep from multiple sources, as well as a serious medical tool for managing and monitoring chronic conditions.
It’s in Our Health Insurance!
Companies such as BP Plc, UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Cigna are signing up for corporate wellness programs that entice their employees to lower their annual insurance bill by using a Fitbit. The aim is to get people more invested in taking care of themselves. The activity data is uploaded to the online database and can be verified by the employer to give a person a reward.
More Exercise + More Fitbit Points = Lower Health Insurance. It’s a win-win situation.
The key to the growth in this market is invisibility. The new trend in wearable technology is in jewelry, glasses, wristwear and armwear. Companies such as Cuff allow users to have the best of both worlds. Its jewelry monitors a user’s activity in a fashionable way. The benefits of wearing something that can track and monitor your health, encourage users to live a happy and healthy lifestyle, and potentially increase the liveliness of fellow friends and family is something with which I’m definitely on board. Here are a few of my favorite fitness apps and gadgets in the market today that can help you jump-start becoming a fitness fanatic like me.
Different watches can track anything from your steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, continuous heart rate, all-day activity and even sleep (creepy but cool).
It’s a free food diary and calorie counter. It allows you to track the food you’re eating anywhere and anytime. It also helps calculate your level of fitness based on the level of activity you’re doing in your workout. You can set fitness goals, have “friends” with whom you can monitor your progress, join groups and even sync with the MapMyRun application to tie in your workouts with your food diary.
This app is amazing. You can track your pace, whether you’re just jogging three miles or training for a marathon. You can track your distance, calories burned and even have audio alerts for your current time while you’re running.
Garmin has developed activity tracker watches that can help any athlete increase their performance, from runners to golfers, swimmers, cyclists and even fliers! For example, the golf Garmin allows the user to track the distance to the green, doglegs and layups. For the cyclist, it contains a GPS computer that tracks hills, your route, a user’s gain or decrease in elevation and even your speed.
Jawbone is pretty nifty! Its mobile app connects with the wearable device that contains an activity tracker that monitors how you move and sleep (and it’s even waterproof).
- Nusca, Andrew. “The Key to an $80 Billion Wearables Market? Invisibility.” Fortune, February 24, 2015.
- Tilenius, Stephanie. “Will an App a Day Keep the Doctor Away? The Coming Health Revolution.” Forbes, September 8, 2013.
- Faas, Ryan. “Get to Know iOS 8: HealthKit and Apple’s New Health App.” Macworld, October 6, 2014.
- Satariano, Adam. “Wear This Device So the Boss Knows You’re Losing Weight.” BloombergBusiness, August 21, 2014.