Tech-Fitness Collaborations Worth Checking Out


(photo credit: iamaserver)

Guest post by Sara Upton, online freelance journalist 

In case you haven’t noticed, smartphones are becoming increasingly more useful for every day activities that go beyond what you may expect. Sure, they can serve as pretty great time-wasters, especially if you commute to work or happen to be sitting idly in a doctor’s office. But they can also be a fitness trainer (of sorts) for those of you seeking more motivation, stability, or organization when it comes to fitness. And right now (and in the near future), it’s clear that there is a lot to dive into in the world where technology and fitness intersect. 

Getting started, let’s first take a look at how we can use those smartphone to better our health and improve our workout routines. PumpUp’s own app (available through iTunes and GooglePlay) that puts an emphasis on building a workout community. You’ve probably heard many times that it’s far easier to maintain a routine when you’re not going it alone—and that sentiment rings true in the success of PumpUp. Basically, it works to positively reinforce everything you’re doing, whether it’s hitting (or trying to hit) a weight-loss goal, running a certain distance, etc… The entire time you’re exercising, you’ll have someone on your side pushing you to reach your full potential. It’s also completely free to download. 

However, it all depends on who you ask, of course. For many, it might not be all about smartphones in bridging the gap between tech and fitness. CNN argues that smartphones are fading and wearable devices are “next.” The writer does have a point. Google recently announced launched its new operating system, Android Wear, strictly for “smart watches,” another term for wearable devices. That development alone shows that there is substantial interest in this realm of tech. But depending on who you ask, these wearables are meant to act in coordination with your smartphone—rather than against them. In other words, you’ll want to use one with the other, and not one as opposed to the other. 

Elsewhere, a highly anticipated product called the Moov is set to be the first wearable that actually “motivates” the user. According to Tech News World, it aims to accomplish this by offering “personalized performance advice” based on your fitness activity. It also aims to provide a virtual coach that’s not quite as monotonous as those offered by similar products, including the aforementioned RunKeeper app. But will it be a success? Well, the folks behind the product seem to think so. As CNET reports in this post, Moov planned to deliver $1 million of wearables and they’re apparently getting ready for an another batch.

Beyond those examples, it’s clear that the wearable technology industry is absolutely on the rise. According to this research on Verizon Wireless, it was found that the market “will grow to 485 million annual device shipments in 2018" and that, as of February 2013, 61 percent of the current market was made up of fitness tech. Expect that number to climb right alongside the shipments, especially as some smartphone are being made with wearable tech in mind. Take Samsung’s Galaxy S5, for example, and how it came pre-loaded with a ton of health software and apps in addition to a built-in heart-rate monitor. Clearly, the mobile tech industry is paying attention to how we are all exercising.

But here’s a sentiment that must be repeated whenever discussing tech/fitness collaborations: Like any product, these will only work (or, in other words, be successful) if they’re purchased and, you know, put to use. If you, the reader, have used a device like the ones described or track your activity with an app on your smartphone, feel free to share your thoughts on these developments in the comments below. As someone who’s used several of the apps and none of the wearables (yet!), any suggestions on this front would be greatly recommended.

This is a guest post by Sara Upton, an online freelance journalist who loves writing about tech and fitness. When she’s not researching the latest way to improve your workout through tech, you can find Sara hanging out with her friends and two dogs.