Trackers have been on a steady incline in popularity over the last several years, as devices provide personal analytics of every step you take and every workout you complete. The wristbands adorn our outfits like jewelry, providing positive feedback, important data, and digitized motivation to reach active goals. That popularity has reached fever pitch as “wearable technology” takes the top spot on the ACSM’s annual fitness trends list.
For their purposes, wearable technology includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices. Odds are, you are wearing one yourself and can probably name a few people who are. That’s because one in six people are sporting a fitness tracker, the watch-style being most popular.
It's Good Business
It’s no secret that these wearable tracking devices are fueling a more tuned-in fitness populace, but they’re proving to be good for business, too. Corporate environments are embracing a BYOW philosophy — Bring Your Own Wearables —, with 76 percent of adopters reporting improved business performance.
“Healthy employees affect the bottom line, ultimately costing a company less money in the long run than unhealthy employees,” according to a report in the Harvard Business Review.
Workplaces are seeing increased productivity of 8.5 percent and job satisfaction increased by 3.5 percent where employees are using Fitbits to track and manage fitness. Fitbit users who have at least one other friend with the device get 27 percent more steps than those who don’t, making it even more advantageous for companies to outfit their staffs with the device, which start as low as $30 for a stripped down, basic version into a couple hundred dollars a piece.
These devices make it super easy for HR to manage a corporate wellness program. Rather than dealing with analog recordings and paperwork, they can just download and analyze the data output by each employee’s device.
Trends That Last
It’s easy to scoff at a trend, but one with a proven lifespan and an industry earnings projection into the billions by 2018 is hardly a trend. Wearables made their debut on ACSM’s 2016 forecast, but a few other items also stand the test of time:
2. Body Weight Training
3. HIIT Training
4. Strength Training
5. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals
6. Personal Training
7. Functional Fitness
8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults.
9. Exercise and Weight Loss