Eight months ago, I made a personal commitment to take control of my health. Not knowing much aside from "eat healthy and start exercising," I did what most embarking on this journey do: researched and read about others' fitness journeys, signed up for exercise classes (indoor cycling), purchased a piece of wearable tech and downloaded four different fitness-related apps to track my training.
A hundred and two spin classes and two races later, I am in the market for the next piece of wearable tech to purchase. Apparently I'm not the only one. Currently, 19% of smartphone owners have downloaded an app specifically to track or manage health. This number is only projected to grow. In a recent GigaOm article, ABI Research estimates that the global market for wearables in health and fitness alone could reach 170 million devices by 2017.
While the mileage I run or heart rate I maintain during my workout is cool to track, I am particiularly drawn to the social aspect of my Nike+ app. I'm able to post my workout to social media so friends near and far can track my progress. Which they do. Some, competitively. Having this virtual support group keeps us motivated to reach our goals.
Florian Gschwandtner, CEO of Runtastic will focus on this very topic in his session A Fun, Fit Future: Social Media Takes on Fitness at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival. He will explain how fitness apps and wearable devices can engage and connect users and highlighting new ways to share workouts and motivate, track and cheer on friends and family from anywhere.
Meanwhile, the Connected Body: Can We Get Value From Wearables session at SXSW 2014 takes the wearable conversation a step further and explores what we do with all of the data collected from our wearables and what value they may provide to our health.
My next purchase will ideally combine all the components I love from each of my devices and apps, into one: GPS, heart rate, calories burned, steps, food tracking, social media, MP3 and maybe even a camera.