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Sep 10, 2020 2:05:13 PM

The Evolution of the Health and Fitness Industry

Posted by Isolde Decker-Lucke

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Mobile devices, apps and wearable technology have disrupted and transformed healthcare and fitness over the past few years. The industry has become increasingly popular, and people are interested in learning more about their own health and fitness levels without having to depend on a doctor or trainer to measure their performance. The prevalence of health and fitness apps stems from a combination of the growth of the wearable tech industry and the evolution of the wellness movement. As a result, consumers are increasingly relying on mobile applications to help them manage their health and fitness.
Workouts have become high tech. Not long ago if you went for a run and wanted to know how far you had traveled, you would look at the distance on a map or track it with your car GPS system. These days devices with location capabilities, such as phones or wearable devices, can easily tell us how far we went.
Wearable watches, monitors, etc. have a range of capabilities, from heart rate to elevation climbed, and even comparison to previous performance. Fitness trackers have even been integrated into business models for fitness centers and classes. Popular workout chain Orange Theory highly recommends class attendees wear a heart monitor while participating in their classes. A screen on the monitor displays your name, heart rate, percentage of your max heart rate, and calories burned so you can easily track your progress and levels
COVID-19 becoming a prevalent threat in 2020 led many gyms and fitness centers to close down for periods of time and people have turned to online workout options as a result. This shift has led to people looking to stay fit, and let’s be honest - fill their free time at home. Wearable devices allow people to monitor workout performance while doing a workout at home, and the plethora of health and wellness apps can provide increased inspiration and motivation. A quick search in the app store shows endless class options for yoga, HIIT workouts, dance cardio, and other guided ways to exercise. eMarketer anticipates that the number of health and fitness app users will stay above 84 million through 2022. 
How do Health and Fitness Apps Work?
Many fitness apps today use activity detection to contextualize a user’s movements so that the data is insightful and digestible. The apps identify different types of movement, like “running” or “walking”, to break up a user’s movement and understand how individual choices contribute to overall activity level. Apps can provide guided workouts, reminders to get up and go for a walk, and even meditation and mental health guidance. 
Location and Apps
Location can dynamically change user experience and increase app engagement in a wide variety of ways. During non-COVID-19 times, apps that create geofences can transition to "gym mode" to get the app ready for a user's workout as they are entering the gym. Skyhook enables app developers to build, measure, and optimize an infinite amount of geofences and deploy contextual user experiences at any location or category of venues with custom polygon geofences.
Location and Fitness Wearables
Wearables provide a personalized look at fitness performance, and these days many can connect with your cell phone or health app directly to combine fitness reporting. Wearables can be worn for workouts where holding your phone isn’t feasible or comfortable, and can track miles run, swam, climbed or biked. Consumers have increasingly high expectations of location in devices as they expect the location to be accurate in all environments, comparable to the hybrid location provided by their smartphones. Hybrid location enables wearables to meet consumers needs and provide the features that they expect.
The Next Step for Health and Fitness Industry
The Health and Fitness apps that will prevail in such a crowded industry are the ones that fit most conveniently into users’ lives. Health and fitness apps using location-based contextual awareness to present a complete picture of each activity throughout a user’s day provide the most accurate reporting on the workout and performance. Location-based context empowers fitness apps to create dynamic mobile experiences that endear users and maximize profitability using geofencing, anonymized personas and venue-level profiles. Contextual location data encourages positive behaviors as they happen and can anticipate how to help users stay active and on top of their goals. We anticipate location will continue to be a crucial part of the health and wellness industry.
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