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Phygital Fitness: 3 ways the fitness industry can improve thanks to AR

January 18, 2022

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Who enjoys fitness? Okay, who honestly enjoys fitness? The exercise industry might sometimes appear a bit… schizophrenic. 

New diets and exercises pop out every single day, but nothing seems to motivate all those people who started new exercise programs and drop them out within the first six months – wondering how many? According to reports, an astonishing more than 50%. This means that if you and your friend decide to join a fitness program at the gym, there are high probabilities that you drop out before 180 days. If this is not enough, a WHO research found that almost 30% of people worldwide don’t get enough exercise. And during lockdowns, people did 32% less physical activity than previously, leading to increased rates of obesity.

However, new technology can help people stick to exercise plans, and it is WebAR. But how can immersive technologies help people stay fit? Let’s see!

What are the benefits of AR for the fitness industry?

Augmented Reality and WebAR are already having a significant impact on the fitness industry on many levels: from increasing motivation to improving the benefits for the body and mind. 

So, what are the possible advantages of working out in AR? The first one is that WebAR is not 100% immersive – this allows people to relate to the environment while benefitting from the extra layer of information AR provides, such as stats, tips, or even gamification assets.

Another interesting factor is how AR can improve motivation and thus results. By using real-time data on things like pace, performance, and results, AR can provide insights and analytics that encourage a better understanding of what worked (and what didn’t) in a specific exercise session and do better the next time.

4 ways AR is changing the fitness industry

1. AR fitness classes

Especially during lockdowns, WebAR can be a great way to experience fitness classes from home; it can transport you to different places and – the most exciting thing – add gamification assets to make the exercise plan more engaging and interactive. It can also be helpful to make children move with fun games and activities without leaving the house.

Even gyms can benefit from this technology; they can offer this service to their members, allowing them to follow classes from home, or enjoy this hybrid mode even in the gym, guided by a “real-life” instructor.

2. AR instructors and PT

Personal trainers can be an incredible help to stay motivated during a fitness journey. Still, sometimes it can be too expensive, or maybe it can be that they are simply not available for us when we need them because of jobs or other duties. And even if technology cannot completely replace the job of a good PT, it can help. 

For example, some apps give users a 360-degree view of a virtual personal trainer – placed close to them thanks to WebAR – who guides them through different exercise sessions, helping them better perform exercises with more accuracy. Each avatar, fitness instructor, and class are tailored to the individual, and users can view the poses from different angles. 

3. AR fitness challenges

Last but not least, the “social” aspect of exercise is not to underestimate; fitness pals can encourage us to follow our dreams, not give up, and stay consistent. However, with social distancing, this can become tricky, also for those who go to gyms, now open with reduced capacity.

However, with WebAR, it is possible to share those virtual fitness sessions mentioned above with family and friends with a simple link, even on social media, and start a fitness movement (pun intended!) that can become viral.

Even if it could seem strange that some so “physical” like fitness could benefit from WebAR, this is indeed the case. The hybrid, phygital nature of WebAR can offer incredible benefits both to fitness enthusiasts and those who absolutely hate workouts but need to do some. 

Moreover, its “social” factor, given by the fact is very easy to experience it from a smartphone and to share it via a simple URL, gives a “shared” dimension to this technology, which makes it perfect for something like fitness where the community is so important to stay consistent and reach goals.