At the gym, how many times have you seen someone taking a photo of their reflection, or if you who can’t find the time to hit the gym, seen these photos in your social media feed?
You may wonder why people do this, but in fact, studies show that people are 5 times more likely to stay on track with their fitness plans when broadcasting their diet and fitness regimen. It could be as small as a smartphone or banal as a Facebook status update, but these are examples of technology helping people participate in sports.
Utilising technology to increase participation in sports is increasingly important, as more children are shifting away from physical activity. In the UK, 26% of parents say their kids spend less than 30 minutes per week playing outdoors due to weather and safety concerns, along with the emergence of technology that keeps them entertained indoors. The US is facing the highest inactivity levels in the last six years, and many other countries are seeing similar results.
Taking selfies isn’t the only solution. There is a lot of affordable technology that can help keep you on top of health conditions and physical activity.
Wearable devices such as fitbit or JAWBONE UP are becoming common, tracking how far you walked that day, or the food you ate. Regular joggers may track and publicise progress with Nike+, and Sunday league or team sports participants may even play equipped with other devices that track sport-specific metrics. Being able to track your performance and access all this data is exciting, but it isn’t enough to keep people exercising on a regular basis.
Other devices allow athletes to share their data as well as compete with others, gamifying the experience. Devices like Zepp not only track the athlete’s precise movement, but also give feedback on how they can improve their technique. It’s just like having a coach with you all the time, but at a much more affordable price.
Five years ago, this type of technology and data was only available to professional athletes. Today, any grassroots or amateur athlete can improve their performance just by wearing a small piece of equipment. We only hope this will continue to increase sport participation in the future.
The question is, how much stronger, faster, and better can technology make us?
At Uniform, we are imagining how technology will shape the future of sports from the perspective of viewers, attenders of sporting events, and players of sport. This post is the final in a series of three, exploring those different viewpoints.
The full report will be available in October 2015.