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How Is Technology Revolutionising the Fitness Industry In India? Despite the pandemic being one of the key causes of this unanticipated increase in health-conscious people, other elements profoundly influenced India's fitness industry

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Today, every social media platform is impacted by the prominence of fitness fervor. Evidently, the popularity of fitness has led to a 311 per cent increase in on-demand workout video usage and a 971 per cent upsurge in live-streaming workout videos. Though gyms were popular and prevalent in India before the COVID-19 lockdown, most individuals could not enroll due to location and economic constraints. But as the lockdown was announced, fitness companies nationwide began streaming workout sessions online at a competitive price. Because of this abrupt paradigm shift, many enrolled in online fitness programs, resulting in the global release of 71,000 health and fitness applications.

Despite the pandemic being one of the key causes of this unanticipated increase in health-conscious people, other elements profoundly influenced India's fitness industry, causing it to grow 171.75 per cent to $434.74 billion.

Pandemic-induced rapid digital adoption

Though the concept of diet and fitness applications existed years ago, it still needed to achieve phenomenal prominence. The nationwide curfew provided the digital fitness sector with the breakthrough required.

Once working from home became the norm, most people discovered they had much free time at home. People began to reconsider their diets and express concerns for their health. Fortunately, most fitness companies transferred their services online during the shutdown and virtually provided fitness sessions and nutritional advice. Furthermore, to support work-from-home professionals who could not always attend the sessions, most instructors started to offer flexible options, such as pre-recorded workout sessions after live sessions.

The abundance of flexible alternatives created an opportunity for fitness studios and start-ups in the fitness and wellness sectors to eventually gain sizable income from the digitalisation of fitness services. As a result, the series of successful events caused the global online and virtual fitness market to increase from $11.39 billion in 2021 to $16.15 billion in 2022.

Wearables and apps on the move

Fitness trackers and applications provide a summary of statistics such as heart rate, walking pace, and burned calories. By tracking users' progress, fitness trackers encourage people to step outside their comfort zone and reach their fitness goals. This notion was confirmed by a Harvard study that emphasised that fitness wearables motivate inactive individuals to increase their activity levels.

In addition, AI-enhanced fitness applications were the best substitute for the lack of a personal trainer. The AI provided appropriate workout regimens tailored to people's fitness goals by just collecting body measurements, age, and other variables. Furthermore, AI has evolved to the point where fitness apps' AI can now monitor workout posture and improve forms. As a result, fitness trackers and other AI-assisted technology fitness applications had a record-breaking 84 per cent surge in downloads between 2019 and 2020. In addition to helping individuals burn calories, these devices also offer features like sleep monitoring and water consumption tracking to help users live healthier lives.

The impact of social media and online communities

Throughout the pandemic, a fitness fever emerged on social media, inspiring people to become fitter and better. Videos from those who shared their weight-training regimens and diets encouraged others to lift weights.

While some preferred the pre-recorded fitness videos available on social media platforms, others chose to sign up for live online lessons. Online workout programs are more efficient than pre-recorded fitness content. They give more flexibility and provide the same benefits as in-person workouts, in addition to being beneficial for people's budgets.

Enrolling in live sessions and collaborating with other participants inspired people to maintain their fitness regimens and refine their exercise forms. Moreover, studies suggest that actively participating in the fitness community encourages people to work out more and helps alleviate their stress and embrace body positivity.

Focus on holistic well-being

People's perspectives on well-being have undergone a considerable shift in the few years following the pandemic. It is becoming increasingly common for individuals to place increased importance on their health and to engage in holistic approaches to improve their physical and mental well-being.

The Athletic Business claims that people who use fitness technology are less anxious and more driven to stick to their workout routines. Furthermore, since exercise influences your overall health, regular physical activity improves cognitive performance, alleviates stress and restores positive well-being among fitness enthusiasts.

Final words

Technology's integration into the fitness sector has encouraged consumers to exercise frequently. Research also found that 40 per cent of users of fitness apps work out five or more days per week, compared to 31 per cent of non-users who exercise at a similar rate. This fact alone demonstrates the profound influence that technology has on individuals.

Fitness apps can provide a more effective way of tracking progress than fitness programs offered on video streaming platforms, as they offer tailored recommendations based on criteria such as training age, weight, athletic ability and fitness goals. Those just beginning their fitness journey and seeking specific guidance to reach their goals will particularly benefit from it.

Bala Krishna Reddy Dabbedi

Co-founder and director, Fittr and INFS


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