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Software Developments Influence on the Fitness Industry

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The Role Bespoke Software Development has Played in the Fitness Industry

We know what you’re thinking. How can bespoke software development possibly have anything to do with maintaining or even encourage us to keep mobile? (See what we did there). And why are Clever Software Group writing a blog about it? But you’d be surprised about how greatly the two are connected.

Health and wellbeing have always been at the forefront of human considerations, but over the past decade, there has been a massive change in society’s urge to become fit and active. This cultural shift has perhaps been influenced by a new understanding and better education of how we should look after ourselves and maintain our physical wellbeing. But let’s not forget we are living in a radical digital age with technology and software development driving the future of so many industries. As a bespoke software development company, this is a very interesting topic to explore. In this blog, we will delve into how software and application development is inspiring so many of us to put on our running gear and embark on a new fitness adventure.

1. An Appetite for Applications

As much as we might not like to admit it, the majority of us now rely heavily on our smartphones and mobile devices to perform everyday tasks. Something that was practically unimaginable 20 years ago, we now have instant access to everything we could possibly want and need to know, by using a clever little device that sits in our pocket. Bespoke software development and a huge innovation in technology has opened doors for so many opportunities, including being able to carry around your own digital personal trainer at all times.

In the aforementioned time frame, living and leading a healthy lifestyle has become somewhat fashionable. We all remember the a wave of fitness DVDs that were released by one celebrity or another. Well now a new era of celebrity has emerged in the form of an ‘influencer’ and we are able to see their fitness and health routines plastered all over their social media. The advancement in software and technology has made things easier to do and achieve, whether that be accessing a workout and meal plan online or downloading the latest fitness app to follow. Through this, society has become increasingly more aware of how lifestyles and environments heavily impact health and wellbeing.

However, it appears we have a bit of a catch 22 in our midst. Despite being able to easily access software tools that can encourage and drive us to become healthier beings, we can also effortlessly order takeaway for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week by using an app if we so wanted (not that we’ve ever done that). As much as software development is a clear driving force behind influencing people to become more fit and active, it is also a hinderance. There are now thousands of apps that are accessible, but it’s about finding that healthy balance between using them all. 

Society has developed a very modern trend of using mobile apps to track almost every aspect of our lives; this now includes the amount of activity we do on a daily basis. It has almost become an obsession. Remember when our phones would simply count the amount of steps we’d done in a day? How excited we would get when we hit 10,000. Now, however, you can track everything from how many calories you consume in a day, how many miles you’ve run and what your heartrate looks like whilst you’re doing it. These apps seem to know more about ourselves than we do. We already know fitness apps are incredibly popular, but this popularity is set to grow even more, meaning software developers will yet again have a huge impact of the further digitalization of an industry.

2. The Dawn of the Wearable

In 2008, Google launched ‘Google Health’, a piece of software that would allow users to keep track of their health and fitness. However, it was so unpopular and barely used; the project was abandoned in 2011, with no outlook of being reinstated. Queue the introduction on the fitness wearable device. This revolutionary combination of technology and software development took the market by storm in 2014 and has since become a massive part of the sport and fitness industry. Once viewed as more of a fashion accessory, wearable devices have hugely influenced the way users interact with fitness activities. Fitbit paved the way for the wearables market, but hundreds of rival products have been developed since and are still continuing to gain massive traction on the market. A wearable device means users no longer need to carry phones on their person when exercising, to track their progress, again changing the way we perform when exercising.

Expected to double in size between 2019 and 2022, the wearable device market is quickly growing in momentum. It is a no brainer that smart watches are the market leaders – it’s 2021… who wants a watch that can only tell the time anyway? The progression in software development has meant that we can easily view and track activities whilst on the go, by using an attractive device that comfortably sits on our wrist. Wearable technology is less likely to hinder our workout routines; this was highlighted in 2018, as 53 million wearable devices were sold worldwide, outselling smartphones and PC units combined.

Technology and software are becoming seamlessly integrated into every element of our lives, so it makes perfect sense that it is finding a place within our health and fitness routines. Despite there being so many options to choose from, many users have become loyal to one wearable device or fitness application to support them on their wellbeing journey. The fitness industry is quickly becoming very heavily saturated with different wearable tech and applications, so it isn’t surprising that people put their faith in a piece of technology or software that they have begun to trust.

Of course, the more exceptional the user interface and experience design, the more likely users are to interact with a device or application, and even recommended it to a friend. In this fast paced world, users require their fitness devices to be quick and easy to use, however also provide an enjoyable experience when doing so. Market leaders such as Strava, Couch to 5k and Samsung Health grant users quick access to necessary information, whilst allowing fitness and sport to become more entertaining. These software applications allow users to track anything from the length of a workout, individual water consumption throughout the day and monitor sleep patterns. The devil is in the detail and bespoke software development permits different levels to be created within these devices and applications, ensuring any possible need is met for a user. It allows users to establish their own individual fitness experience, creating control and ownership of day-to-day activities.

3. Software Taking Home Fitness by Storm

Due to the number of national lockdowns, at this point we all know why, the fitness industry was one of the hardest hit in 2020. Thousands of gyms were forced to close their doors and find new ways to offer their services. Many turned to offering their services online, by hosting live streams and digital classes to their clients. Technology and software development allow this option to become and easy accessible convenience for so many people. It supported users to continue their fitness regime from the comfort and safety of their homes. 

Despite the digital offerings of gyms and fitness studios throughout the covid-19 pandemic, the popularity of fitness apps surged in 2020 and saw a worldwide increase of 46% in downloads. Fitness software applications were shaping our lives and abs long before the pandemic, but many found themselves faced with more free time, opening up opportunities to exercise whilst spending more time at home.

At a time of so much uncertainty, half of all mobile app users have expressed that they use fitness apps to fulfil their health and exercise goals. Training and working out has allowed a stable routine and healthy focus to be created during the pandemic, which in turn, has created online digital communities in which users support each other’s fitness journeys.

Is the use of fitness apps and online classes here to stay? Who knows. But these pieces of software development have allowed a sense of escapism whilst having to spend so much time indoors.

4. Virtually the Best Fitness

As software development becomes further intertwined with the fitness industry, integration of new advancements, such as Artificial Intelligence, may also begin to be applied to fitness devices. AI will allow a new element to be explored and be a beneficial integration with fitness methods. We will be able to exercise in a new dimension. AI will further support a very personalized fitness experience, learning from the behaviors of a user, to create an individual training plan. Essentially, AI could act as a virtual personal trainer, guiding and maintaining a user’s health and wellbeing plan. The initial outlay for an AI powered fitness device may be deemed expensive, but in the long run could be more cost affective than paying for a personal trainer and gym membership that isn’t really utilized.

Virtual reality software development may also influence the way we exercise, in the future. Again, by using wearable technology, we could be transported anywhere we could possibly imagine, to perform fitness regimes and workout activities. Studies have already shown that interacting with VR greatly improves reflexes and manual dexterity, so perhaps a ‘Ready Player One’ style fitness plan isn’t too far away?

The majority of software applications and devices that have already been developed for the fitness industry include gamification. This has been devised to entertain and motivate users, whilst offering digital incentives, such as visual achievements and awards. Many apps also allow users to compete against friends and family, encouraging a sense of community – plus, who doesn’t like a bit of friendly rivalry? With gamification already in place, it seems only natural that machine learning and VR will be software elements that become integrated into the future of the fitness industry.

We live in a very sedimentary society and have engineered out many primal activities that would have originally kept us fit and active. Bespoke software development has opened up new and exciting opportunities to promote and encourage the way people interact with and perceive fitness. The industry is experiencing a steady growth, with startup fitness companies springing up everyday. The implementation and advancement of software development is only going to enhance the industry further and continue to rejuvenate society’s view of sport and fitness.

Not Just Travel

Not Just Travel (NJT)

Our client's current internal reporting tool was in need of a series of complex developments to facilitate key administrative tasks. Our specialist software support developers made enhancements to make the system easier to manage internally and to give the client greater control of their software.

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