In news which is set to further bolster the fitness technology and wearable tech market, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) have predicted that wearable tech will be the biggest fitness trend of 2016. ACSM today released their annual fitness trend forecast and it makes for highly encouraging reading for everyone in the fitness gadget market, not least the raft of new mainstream manufacturers who are rushing to enter the space.
The lead author of the report, Walter. R. Thompson stated “Wearable technology has overtaken activities like body weight training and high-intensity interval training to claim the number one spot in this year’s survey,” This is interesting reading for anyone familiar with the fad-heavy nature of the fitness industry. From vibration plates to HiiT, fitness always seems to need a new fad. However this is perhaps indicative of a wider fitness movement.
As pointed out by Thompson, the fitness industry has seemingly been in awe of cheaper and more accessible training methodologies. Park runs, bootcamps and other such group-exercise, do it in the park training has been the hot subject for the past couple of years. As Thompson observes, “Consumer interest in fitness technology may signal that the low-cost, DIY exercise trend is waning.” Therefore, a more high-tech / fit tech approach to training is capturing the imagination, and this trend which began around 2012 is now reaching maturity as we rapidly approach 2016.
Wearable tech market 2016
This survey is rendered credence by the people it polls, not least nearly 3,000 people who make their career out of fitness. The survey investigated 40 different health and fitness trends, with wearable tech being the clear cut – and standout – winner amongst the 2,800 people polled.
“Tech devices are now central to our daily lives and have changed the way we plan and manage our workouts,” said Thompson. “Wearable devices also provide immediate feedback that can make the wearer more aware of their level of activity and can motivate the user to achieve their fitness goals.” And herein lies the great benefits – fast feedback and actionable action points. General activity can be so passive that we barely observe what we’re doing. How often would we take note that we walked an extra 3,000 steps on Thursday if it wasn’t for the fit tech on our wrist? The reality of that extra meeting at work, and everything that went into it means that we barely note the extra activity needed to get us there and back – yet it all adds up. Activity trackers and fitness bands make us aware, and encourage us to do it more.
Must read – How can fitness bands help you lose weight?
Activity Trackers and Fitness Bands As A Fashion Accessory
Another interesting trend is the emergence as wearable devices, such as fitness bands, activity trackers and smart watches as fashion accessories. Not only are these devices seen as infinitely practical in the monitoring o your fitness, but also – even for otherwise smartly dressed businessmen and women – they are seen as a fashion accessories. They stand as testament to living your life in a healthily and fit manner. Despite their often bright and sometimes obnoxious colour schemes, these devices are increasingly the thing to be seen with in the boardroom.
Fitness bands with GPS and other key new features
Historically, the biggest compliant of many, and here at BurnTech we have been expressive in our views here, is that fitness bands have not had enough features. They have counted steps, monitored sleep (with some strange results and non-scientific data collection)and acted as glorified pedometers
Must read – How are activity trackers and fitness bands different to pedometers?
Now, these bands are quickly getting ‘smarter’. Big brands like Polar and Garmin are launching devises which encompass continuous heart rate monitoring. Previously reticent to do so, because they didn’t want to cannibalise the sales of their heart rate monitors, these big brands are now keen to capitalise on the chic positioning of fitness bands. A quick search of ‘fitness bands with’ on Google immediately identifies the market demand here, with a whole slew of queries relating to heart rate monitoring sand GPS being thrown up. These are basically the two main features which bands have lacked compared to heart rate monitors, so now this is being addressed, the market is moving quickly towards these devices.
Alongside ‘lifestyle clothing’ – or the wearing of fitness shoes and clothing in general life – this is all contributing to people being increasingly happy to be seen to be fit and healthy. Bands are now seen as being genuinely useful and not just accessories, collecting data points of value not ‘fluffy data’ which doesn’t really mean anything.
So as 2015 begins to fade into 2016, all market trends point towards a brighter future and an explosive 2016. You’d never have guessed with brands like Garmin, Polar and Asus queuing up to launch new products.
What do you think 2016 will bring? share your views in the comments below!