11 Oct Is augmented reality the future of fitness?
We asked three top fitness industry brains about the future of fitness and the latest developments in augmented reality and virtual reality tech.
Matt Quinn, COO and Founder of Flex TV
Yes. Or at least there is an undeniably high probability that it will be.
There is still a long way to go for the technology, but we’re placing bets on a 2-5 year time horizon for mass adoption and sufficient iterations to bring it to life.
What people need to realise is that even in this early stage current versions of the technology are already incredibly powerful. Pokemon Go, a crudely basic example of Augmented Reality has done more for health and fitness than any program or technology before it. Getting 45 million people up and walking regularly within a matter of weeks.
AR headsets and the subsequent apps that are built within them are going to become so pervasive in society that we’ll look back and laugh at the day we had smart phones. They are going to replace or enhance our devices and almost every other facet of life.
For fitness specifically there are infinite possibilities, but here are some that come to mind:
- As you do your workout, you can have a routine guide in front of you along with your vitals and stats i.e. reps, strength, quality of form
- Any activity/class/exercise can be gamified with real-time stats and leaderboards
- You will be able to do classes in your home with an instructor transported in front of you. Think Yoga, Pilates, HIIT….everything.
- No more PTs, your virtual PT is going to be guiding you and showing you what to do
With AR in our lives, there will be an insane amount of available data to collect and use which will lead to the automation of boring bits (gym inductions) and an increase in habitual addictive design around the parts people enjoy.
Alongside all of this as technology becomes deeply sown, there will be a bigger opportunity for experiential fitness programmes such as colour runs, yoga retreats and obstacle races, but the big money will be those who conquer AR as the available scale is enormous.
Adam El-Agez, Founder of My Virtual Mission
It clearly is the direction we will be heading for the next little while as we experiment to make the impossible, possible through technology.
We’re at a point now where we have ample knowledge about the body’s response to exercise, how it benefits from exercise and how we should prescribe exercise. No one is left unaware that we should all be exercising to maintain and enhance our health and we have unprecedented access to vast resources on how to do it.
The missing piece for many people is how to stay focussed and motivated to exercise in a modern world full of business and more pleasurable distractions. Technology that can bring additional layers of enjoyment, excitement and desire to exercise will surely be embraced.
Michael Clark, Owner of strategic development consultancy Creative Fitness
In a word, no. The future of fitness will firstly be the migration of offering products to offering experiences and secondly innovation around how accessible fitness formats are, however, AR is one of a number of exciting advances than can lead the way to these futures.
Today’s consumer and specifically todays fitness consumer is more discerning and connected than ever before and are being exposed to a daily range of services, apps, devices and locations to tempt them into fitness or to vary their existing fitness routines. Recent research firmly confirms that consumers are now looking to buy into experiences rather than products – something that engages and excites rather than a service and this is where tech like AR can play a key role.
Options for AR within the fitness realm are numerous and perhaps the most powerful will be in engaging with a broader audience who don’t currently exist within the four walls of the gym by making getting active a cleverly concealed bi-product of an AR experience. We’ve seen how the recent Pokemon AR experience took people off the sofa and out on an adventure – these people may, as a result, have walked and run further in search of virtual creatures than they ever have via traditional fitness lures.
Of course AR then has more overt applications to the fitness industry especially in the group exercise environment by adding more “play” to create this much desired experiential offering. Beyond GX we are already seeing tech providers giving the gym based CV community who are often jaded with the plodding nature of 40 minutes on the treadmill and cross-trainer an experience on their smartphone by providing virtual goals and targets & the natural progression using this type of engagement will be AR integration which will no doubt aid retention of those gym members who are currently lacking engagement and targets.
How do you think the latest tech developments will affect the future of the fitness industry? Tweet us @_ActionPR