In 2017, wearable technology held the top spot in the American College of Sports Medicine’s “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends,” and it continues to be a major disrupter in group fitness, as shown by the global reach of boutique studios that use wearable tech during classes. Indoor cycling has also taken up the charge by incorporating riders’ performance data. Other companies offer complete group fitness technology solutions for fitness facilities. Increasingly, exercisers are accustomed to putting on a heart rate sensor or using a smart watch to track their intensity during their workout.
Studies conducted on the use of wearable fitness technology show a correlation between an exerciser’s use of a wearable device and the valuable interpretation of the data to engage and motivate the exerciser. In a study from Indiana University, 90 percent of participants said that even though both their activity tracker and their trainer were helpful over a 10-week training period, it was the combination of both that helped them maintain their goals over time. Another study by the University of Pittsburgh on how wearables affect long-term weight loss showed that if simply given a device and asked to meet an exercise quota, there was no noticeable difference between two random sample groups, one of which was given fitness wearables and the other which was not.
Notable from these two studies is the importance of both the fitness trainer and education when incorporating wearable devices into small group training. To facilitate that connection, the fitness trainer needs to know how to interpret an exerciser’s information, explain to the exerciser what the data means and apply it to adjust an exerciser’s workout to achieve their desired results.
When small group training programs incorporate wearable fitness technology, and use it to benefit their students and staff by capitalizing on the ability to interpret data and prescribe individualized workouts, it can increase the level of participation, improve the sense of community within your rec center and deliver new levels of energy to the small group training experience.
By Katie Dobbs, the content marketing expert at Precor, a fitness equipment manufacturer whose mission is to develop personalized health and fitness experiences that help people live the lives they desire. For more information on the fitness industry, tips for facility operators, and workout ideas, visit the Precor Resource Center.