Technology has had a tremendous impact on our lives in a number of ways – from staying connected with friends and family to tracking our health.
Especially over the last year, we have continued to see new technology emerge to improve our fitness experience. Apple has recognized the importance of technology in all aspects of our lives, which they highlighted in their most recent Worldwide Developers Conference.
But, how do these latest updates affect sports and fitness? We’ll dive into that here.
What is Apple WWDC 2021?
Traditionally, this event is held in-person in California. However, due to the pandemic, the last 2 years have been virtual and free to attend, making this event especially accessible to the public.
In addition to the keynote event, where members of the Apple Team showcased various updates to their products, developers across the world were invited to participate in over 200 sessions and labs hosted by Apple engineers. These topics covered everything from how to build a fitness app to inclusive app design.
Here are some of the top fitness-related takeaways from the Apple WWDC keynote presentation.
Sports & Fitness Takeaways from Apple WWDC
Improved Health Tracking & Innovation
In their overview of iOS 15 and watchOS 8 updates, Apple announced more tracking related to health and fitness. As Jeff Williams, COO of Apple says, “this past year has emphasized the importance of health, and we’re enabling our users to take a more active role in their well-being.”
Within the Health App, users will be able to access information like trends, lab results, and walking steadiness. Apple also unveiled Health Sharing, where users can share this health data securely with medical professionals, while maintaining privacy. In addition, Health Sharing also allows users to share and receive health data within their family networks – all from their fingertips.
These updates will allow consumers to track information such as resting heart rate or respiratory rate. Over time, this data will allow users to identify trends and patterns. Changes in these trends may be able to predict health, such as illness or injury.
As we continue to understand the role of technology in monitoring health, consumers will be able to gain a better understanding of their fitness needs. In addition, wearable technology, such as Apple Watch or Whoop, will empower users to set goals that lead to change. As a result, sports and fitness businesses have an opportunity to empower their consumers to meet these health and fitness goals. Whether it be encouraging clients to get active, or helping them reach the next level in their career, sports and fitness businesses can provide incredible value to their clients and contribute to a healthier, more active world.
Apple Fitness+ Updates
In addition to this improved Health reporting, Apple also announced new content within Apple Fitness+. First, users can anticipate two new workout types: Pilates and Tai Chi. Both of these workout modalities were chosen intentionally, as they encourage mindfulness. Apple also introduced a new Artist Spotlight Series, featuring workout playlists from top artists such as Keith Urban and Alicia Keys. Much like Peloton’s themed classes, Apple Fitness+ is looking to create immersive experiences within their workout platform. Another Apple WWDC fitness update was the announcement of new workout series featuring fitness expert Jeanette Jenkins.
All of these updates will elevate the experience to resemble that of an in-person fitness class or training session.
Smart at-home fitness equipment has exploded over the past year. Many people have traded gym memberships for these platforms. As the needs of consumers have changed, so must sports and fitness businesses. An at-home fitness platform may seem like a threat to traditional sports and fitness businesses. However, this also creates an opportunity. The more competition in this industry, the greater opportunity there is for all.
Greater Commitment to Mental Health
Now, more than ever, we also recognize the importance of taking care of our mental health. Another WWDC fitness trend announced during the keynote presentation was a new “Mindfulness” app. This app is an extension of the current Apple Watch Breathe App. Without a doubt, the pandemic has affected mental health. Shutdowns and social distancing often created feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and stress, especially for groups at high risk for getting sick. As a result, we have seen a greater emphasis on finding focus and mindfulness.
Obviously, sports and fitness businesses have a goal to improve physical health and well-being, but how can they improve mental health?
Not only has exercise been proven to boost your mood, but it also contributes to a sense of belonging and community. Even a simple hello or goodbye from the front desk, or the interaction during a group training session can have a positive effect on a person’s mental well-being.
So, while many think that the future of fitness is solely digital, we must not forget the importance of human connection and interaction that will bring people back to gyms. Fitness creates connection. Sports create connection. Sports and fitness businesses should continue to use technology to build relationships with their clients.
What This Means for Fitness Consumers
As new technology transforms our industry daily, we can all expect changes that will improve the fitness experience. Connected fitness and wearable technology allow us to gain deeper insights into our personal health and fitness, and helps us to set and achieve our personal health and fitness goals. At Upper Hand, we are committed to helping sports and fitness businesses add value for their clients that help them attain these goals.
At Upper Hand, we strive to build innovative software solutions that make the management of sports and fitness effortless and contribute to a healthier, more active world.