How Digital Is Changing Fitness

The fitness industry is always evolving. It’s prone to fads and trends of varying legitimacies—think Jazzercise, ThighMaster, or the legendary Shake Weight. Fitness also follows trends outside of the industry, and one that is proving to have a huge impact is the rapidly growing influence of digital technology.

On-Demand Workouts and Apps

Digital technology has drastically changed the way we approach our everyday lives. We have access to friends, entertainment, shopping, banking, and more through the phones we put in our pockets.

The way we exercise has been affected by this in a big way. There are countless workout apps and on-demand classes available to exercisers of all fitness levels. Workouts that people can do whenever (and for the most part wherever) they want. The most recognizable example of this is Peloton, which has grown to offer hundreds of popular on-demand workouts.

The easily accessible home workout isn’t new. In the early 1980s, VHS workout tapes let exercisers sweat through aerobic workouts led by the likes of Jane Fonda. Those gave way to workout DVDs like P90X, and eventually internet fitness instruction.

The Digital Trend

Convenience has long been a key consideration for those looking to get into a workout routine. Home workouts are about as convenient as it gets, and the on-demand/app world provides home exercisers with limitless workout opportunities.

The use of online/app-based classes was up 8% from last year.

In a recent Jefferies Fitness Survey, 55% of respondents said they’d participated in a home workout over the last year, up 10% from last year. And 65% say that a full-service gym is their primary fitness activity, but 32% said it was home workouts. That number grew from 28% last year. Overall, the use of online/app-based classes was up 8% from last year.

What Does That Mean for Fitness Facilities?

Indoor cycle trayThis data doesn’t mean that former gym goers are now all staying at home. There’s an appealing social aspect offered by health clubs, and working out with others can be motivating and energizing. Specialty boutiques are surging in popularity, and workout areas in hotels and multi-unit residences are still selling points.

Fitness facilities of any kind shouldn’t ignore the digital trend. Instead, they should try to incorporate it into the mix. High-definition TVs can be outfitted with streaming fitness classes, which can work extremely well in hospitality or residential settings where there are likely no certified trainers on staff.

Accommodating what exercisers want from a digital standpoint can also be as easy as outfitting cardio equipment with accessories like a tablet holder. Indoor cycles from ICG have done just that. The addition of a smartphone/tablet mount on the handlebars and a dumbbell rack on the seat turn the indoor cycle into a total-body workout station.