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One of the phenomenal outcomes of the pandemic was the survival of significant industries whose services were commonly offered offline, like fitness. In India, there are about 20,000 gyms, and the mandatory lockdown forced these gyms to shut their doors. However, the fitness sector experienced impressive growth due to the wide adoption of sophisticated technologies like data science and AI. According to the World Economic Forum, the number of fitness app downloads increased by 46%, and India saw the highest increase in downloads, rising by 156%. This exceptional growth is attributed to the comfort, convenience and motivation offered by fitness apps backed by Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)-driven training.
Today, there has been a growth in digital adoption in the health and fitness sector. Virtual fitness programs and applications have come into the limelight and addressed people’s excuses (like lack of time, affordability, etc.) for not exercising and staying fit. Fitness studios have shifted their services online to offer live training sessions, while fitness applications provide personalised exercise and diet plans that guarantee results. The convenience and outcomes of such applications have resulted in over 58 million new users in India alone in the second half of 2020. Here are more specifics on how technological changes will influence the fitness business in 2022 and beyond.
Artificial Intelligence-driven training
The triad of new-age technology, data science, machine learning & artificial intelligence is behind the evolution of fitness industries. By collecting relevant health and fitness-related data from the users, the algorithms curate personalised workout regimens that promise physical and mental results. Also, a study performed by researchers at Northwestern University found that technology motivates people more than conventional motivational techniques, enhancing the overall health of fitness enthusiasts and helping them achieve their body goals.
The role of AI-driven fitness applications continues beyond curating fitness plans alone. Recently, sophisticated fitness applications with ‘human pose estimation’ techniques were introduced. This branch of AI can monitor the skeletal system, contours, and volume and notify users about correcting their postures and forms.
Apart from fitness applications, fitness wearables grew in prominence and popularity worldwide during the pandemic. According to industry statistics, the Indian wearable market surged 170.3% year over year in Q1 2021. The fitness trackers monitor the stress levels, heart rate, and calories burned to ensure the user achieves their goals and are not pushing themselves beyond their limits. In future, aside from smart watches, smart sports apparel incorporated with AI technology and sensors are expected to be introduced to further enhance the productivity and workout performance of the users.
AI-based Diet Plan
Regarding fitness and consistent activity, a proper diet also plays a pivotal role in achieving the body’s goals. To help with this, AI-driven fitness applications collect important information about the user’s dietary adherence, results & behavioural variables to curate personalised diet plans that include essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and all micro and macro-nutrients.
The number of fitness application downloads is predicted to reach 293.4 million in 2022 due to the unparalleled ease and convenience of working out from home and the advantages of AI-incorporated fitness technology. The pandemic’s dire circumstances made it clear how essential hygiene and healthcare are prompting most people to adopt healthy behaviours that they can practise at home easily. It should go without saying that AI and other cutting-edge technologies are essential for ensuring the success of the fitness industry, given how critical technology is in understanding people’s physical and mental well-being.