Does technology help you be healthier?

I will go with my conclusion first and then the reasoning behind this conclusion. I actually believe that technology is a tool, something that will help you in case you wanna be helped. It is a tool for those who are already committed to something. At the same time, it is a tool for coaches, people who leave from this and can leverage technology to do their job better.

💡 Now let’s go to some facts that in my opinion will stand for my conclusion.

Technology doesn’t, just as is, make people train, or have better habits. Otherwise, how can we explain that having hundreds of thousands of fitness apps, in The States for already 10 years less than 25% of the population actually workout on a regular basis? In my mind that doesn’t make any sense.

Not only apps arise like regular coins but also wearables. Fitbit became very popular among them getting more than 30 million users and still, didn’t mean that people tend to train more because of that.

Then, which is the reason people keep on training? Isn’t it all maybe due to accountability?

The churn rate of group exercise is 56% less probable than “gym only” according to TRP 10,000 tm. Among many social aspects like mutual motivation, friendship competition, social joy, and emotional support, there are other factors like shared accountability and verbal commitment. When we hire someone to help us be better at something we are accountable to him/her. Instead, when we download an app, there is no accountability. According to Apptopia fitness app retention barely reaches 15% and the amount of time a user spends in a fitness app is around 2.5 minutes.

Does this mean that technology does not help? Not at all. It does, and it does a lot. It makes people that already train, train better, get better results. You can get a lot of valuable information (whether from your wearable or your apps). But it does not do any magic, it does not make that people that don’t want to make the effort get healthier and fitter. For those who wanna take the leap, it does.

The annual CAGR of wearables for the next couples of years is of 18%, whilst last year it grew 48%. That is massive, isn’t it? I love to use a wearable, and it helps me train better, but it doesn’t make me go for a run or train harder. Therefore, no accountability. The actual accountability there, is to myself. If you are familiar with stoicism you would agree that it promotes accountability, individual accountability. Despite the fact I am fore that concept, generally speaking we tend to do things when we are accountable to others. And that is something is very popular among the fitness industry, whether is training in a running group, or a group exercise at the park, or training with a personal trainer at the gym.

Technology has to be used to get better, to train better, to assess better. It is not our enemy, it is not our savior. The hype of AI put everyone on alert, and the coaching industry was in the loop. It is interesting though, that at the same time the amount of personal trainers worldwide grows year by year being over 750 million.

To important further conclusions for me are:

  • People need to be accountable to someone
  • AI and other technology are tools that help coaches

Coaches and companies should grasp this opportunity and build better experiences in order to bring more people to a healthier way of living.

If you’d like to know more about Fitness Apps, you can find our latest developments and initiatives detailed here!

📩 If you want to know more about it, or need some mentorship on design, please feel free to reach out to us at hello@amalgama.co.


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