Every year the American Council on Exercise (ACE) publishes their top 10 predictions for the fitness industry. This year, technology-based fitness was included as a major upcoming trend:
Technology-Based Fitness: From iPods to Cardio Cinema to exergaming (i.e., Wii Fit, Expresso Bikes) the latest in technology will continue to infuse itself in all aspects of fitness. Look for 2009 to provide more interactive video games that provide fitness benefits, as well as new inventions to make exercising a more engaging experience.
Although more programs will be enhanced through technology, 2009 will be the year where we will see less resistance from fitness professionals and commercial health clubs to adopt these newer technologies into their mainstream programming. For the past few years, there have been questions whether or not these alternative programs (such as, exergaming, fitness-related podcasts, online training, etc.) would be sustainable or even complementary to the efforts of most fitness professionals. I have heard many of my colleagues ask (and rightfully so) if these ideas would be short-lived or truly the beginning of a new era in fitness. And ACE confirms that this trend will only continue to grow. (Yes!)
For fitness pros and health clubs owners, 2009 will be less about immediate implementation of techno-based fitness programs (primarily due to economic concerns and the high costs associated with some technologies). Instead, growing efforts will go towards ‘behind-the-scene’ preparations for a stronger, bigger market-entry in late-2009, early-2010. Preparations that may or may not include: 1) offering and/or attending trainings on new technologies (i.e. workshops on fitness podcasting, certifications for exergaming, etc.); 2) budget considerations for future equipment purchases and club renovations to attract a new demographic; 3) recruiting or organzing staff/employees for new departments and fitness roles… and much, much more, I’m sure…
With that said, to all fitness professionals who are interested in marrying technology with their fitness efforts, I say: take this year to educate and experiment with new technologies (if you aren’t doing so already)! Attend sessions at conferences that introduce and discuss these topic areas. Talk to the early-adopters of these technologies and learn from their research and successes! Be a part of this conversation!
This year I will be discussing many of these topics in my sessions at IHRSA, ACSM, and IDEA World. Check my speaking schedule for exact times and dates.
Happy New Year!