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Health and fitness are a central part of our lives whether it be through going to the gym, participating in sports or taking a casual stroll. But for a lot of us maintaining health and fitness can become difficult. In a fast-paced world fitting the time and motivation to keep up to date with our health can be the most challenging part.

IoT technology is a frontrunner in the transformation of the fitness industry and is already closer than we think.

There are a wide array of use cases IoT is and can provide for the Health and Fitness Industry from the most recognised fitness wearables (watch the episode) and trackers to implantable sensors, equipment monitoring and smart machines.

Since, the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the closure of gyms, IoT witnessed a fluctuation particularly in the fitness wearables industry as more people began to workout at home and lens in on personal fitness goals, with the market (2021) now set over 900 million.

Although wearables are the IoT devices we’ve got to know and love, IoT can contribute even stronger to the future of health and fitness enabling fully connected gyms complete overview of health and fitness through connected devices.

Key areas IoT is infiltrating in health and fitness:

  • Customisation of exercise – Perhaps the most common occurrence of IoT in health and fitness is the ability to track in real-time your fitness levels (heart rate, calories burned, steps) and enable a self-coached way of training.
  • Smart equipment – More companies are releasing smart machines that can cater to a range of exercises and make it possible to do everything you do at the gym from the comfort of home. Sensors can also be applied to machines to track activity.
  • Immersive Training- Virtual reality (VR) headsets are creating more interactive and engaging ways of training possible, as well as helping perfect form and performance.

Imagine being able to walk up to a machine automatically scan your wearable watch to connect to the equipment, for the machine to adjust to your individual size and requirements, then automatically track your sets, reps and range of motion, without you having to do anything at all – revolutionary!

We can talk about all the exciting ways IoT can and is transforming our health and fitness, but let’s get into some really life-changing examples out there!

In a recent episode of The IoT Podcast, Christopher Slee talked about an IoT connected machine develop by IncludeHealth, Inc. which is being used in Healthcare and Recovery.  As the CTO, Chris helped cloud-enable the equipment to schedule, set up, adjust the weight stack and track workout schedules.

Originally targeting the Healthcare and Recovery Industries, the equipment has seen interest in the broader fitness market and US special forces.

Talking about how they have developed the technology, Chris explained the potentials for the wider world:

‘We were dealing with the Air Force, who wanted to use this from a performance perspective to track capabilities of people in their performance fitness labs. So, we ended up building a sensor platform that would tie in and we actually have sensors that we can put on any piece of physical exercise equipment, and either through LIDAR or gyroscope, or accelerometers.’

‘So essentially, I can stick it on to a leg press machine. And as you do leg presses, I can count your reps, I know your range of motion. I can tell you know, from a resistance perspective, how much work you’re doing, what’s your velocity…But now we can wire up any piece of equipment in a facility connected with an iPad…so you can watch ROM gauge and rep counting. And it would tell you what you’re supposed to do on this machine.’

Watch the episode to discover more of the use cases of IoT in healthcare and fitness. 

Beyond the ability to track workouts and monitor machines the VR market has great benefits to health and fitness. For musculoskeletal recovery, VR has seen use in assessing form among patients through visual squares that will deform if the patient performed the incorrect positioning.  Amongst this, the use of gamification to create more immersive and interesting training is helping cater to individual preference of exercise.

It is undeniable health and fitness can see a lot of transformation through the widespread use of IoT devices. It is exciting to see what the future holds for such a crucial and well-loved industry from everyday workouts all the way to healthcare and recovery.

We’re always keen to hear from people who want to share their expertise, knowledge, and stories with the wider IoT community please email katie@theiotpodcast.com 

The IoT Podcast Team

The IoT Podcast is powered by Paratus People, a leading organisation in IoT Talent Solutions.

Innovation is at the heart of IoT, it is our passion to explore and learn more about this fast paced and transforming sector.

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