How healthy is the future of fitness?

January 28 2016

Over the past few years many new innovations have emerged in the world of fitness. Exercise-wise, CrossFit, HIIT and yogalates have become some of the trendiest ways to work out, and, technology-wise, apps (like MyFitnessPal, Charity Miles, and Zombies, Run!) and smart bodywear (like the Apple Watch, Nike Fuel Band and Fitbit) have made training easier and health advice more accessible.

At Fitness First, we're always interested in discovering the latest developments in health and we love to be ahead of the curve when it comes to new approaches to exercise. Keen to find out what's next on the horizon for fitness innovation, we asked futurologist Ian Pearson to tell us how we can expect to stay in shape in years to come and, not surprisingly, technology plays a huge part in it. Ian says that: "The rapid development of technology means that in the near future we can expect to see many more people engaging in activity”.

In the gyms of 2046, Ian suggests that swarms of drones will be present, recording our every movement and capturing every angle of what we do. Our performance will then be transmitted in real time to digital eyewear meaning that we will be able to instantly see our technique and improve it if needs be.

And it won't just be those exercising that will benefit from seeing a 360-degree stream of their workout. The footage can be instantly shared online via social media channels, allowing followers, friends and fans to watch or copy their movements live. So, excitingly, your favourite fitness guru will be able to post exercise tips on their Instagram page right as they're doing them.

While virtual instructors are something that you can already find teaching group classes at Fitness First gyms, more advanced technology will see us training in virtual worlds, where virtual buddies and opponents will be able to challenge us when working out. Think sparring with a robotic partner, following a computerised pacemaker or running the London Marathon alongside Mo Farah (virtually, of course!). These virtual fitness worlds will also allow us to race friends or challenge others, even when they're in another gym or even miles away. As Fitness First’s Lee Matthews explains, “You could be white-water rafting with your friend who lives in Australia, all from the comfort of your gym in the UK."

In terms of a better insight into performance, a new advancement will be what's dubbed by Ian as 'Active Skin'. Active Skin is where electronic pads on the skin will feed back to software the details of the user's heart rate, blood pressure and other vital stats. The software will be able to record and monitor the user's performance over time and then flag up what's working and what's not. This will make for truly bespoke training programmes.

Active Skin will also have the ability to record and replay sensations via the electronic pads, which means that when a user learns a new exercise they will be able to feel whether they are making the correct movement. Learning from sensations, the body’s muscles will begin to memorise the correct technique.