We have commented many times about the connection between social media and fitness, a connection which is amplified by the stream of fitness apps and wearable fitness technology that have hit the market during 2013. These products and apps are allowing people to get social over their workouts, by sharing what they have achieved in the gym and what they have been eating on the quest to hit the beach in the best possible shape this summer.
The trend has now drawn comment from Dick Costolo, the current chief executive officer of social network giant, Twitter. “People are readily tweeting things out from wearable devices,” commented Costolo at the National Venture Capital Association’s annual conference in San Francisco. “There’s a huge opportunity in the healthcare space.”
Social fitness has thus far focussed on users inputting data into apps and then working to share this data with their friends. The opportunity exists for this to expand much further, with smart devices automatically linking in with your social media accounts, providing automated fitness updates which could either praise your achievements or shame your lack of discipline, depending on how things have been going.
A quick survey of our office brought some interesting ideas:
Your favourite fitness app could live tweet your workout directly from the gym, providing your followers with up to the minute updates about what you’re doing.
The app could share your new personal bests or noteworthy achievements with your friends, encouraging them to join in or to simply comment you on your great performance.
Another idea was smart body scales, which could update your app and if you choose, your social media accounts with the latest update in your weight, body composition, hydration levels and the environment that you’re in, providing a full health update.
This health update could be passed to relevant third parties, such as your family doctor or your personal trainer. This has huge potential for the health industry in general, as well as the scores of folk chasing a better body.
Wearable fitness technology could also be easily adopted to add value for older people, especially people suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The fitness tracker could keep track of the person in question, sharing their location on a healthcare version of Foursquare, activating specific checkpoints as a form of ‘check-in’.
All of this shows how it’s an exciting time for social media and fitness technology, and I am convinced that the above is only scratching the surface. There’s a huge opportunity for fitness technology to integrate in to radical new hardware, such as Google glasses, in order to further tie together people’s lives.