Fitness trackers pushing us to move

In this year's Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends, wearable technology is the number one trend.

Look around you. How many wearables are taking up wrist space? FitBit, Jawbone, Garmin, Misfit, Apple Watch. New sizes. New colours. New functions.

The smart armbands aren’t just a fashion statement. Wearable technology rates in 2016’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends at the top of the ‘what’s hot’ list for fitness.

Wearable tech is on trend, and it’s also pushing us to compete. Welcome to the age of ‘Step Wars’ where friends, sisters, strangers, and spouses are all fighting it out to be top of the step count.

Consumer insight researchers Pureprofile studied the trend and discovered that 81 per cent of people use wearables for fitness, with 70 per cent saying it’s had a positive impact on their activity levels.

“What the data shows us is that when people understand more about their own habits – when they can see the number of steps they take in a day, for example – they’re more likely to change their behaviour,” says Pureprofile CEO, Paul Chan.

Matt DeMoss, General Manager for Garmin Australasia predicts over 2016 and beyond, fitness trackers will become more sophisticated, more integrated and more connected.

“The more data we can collect from our fitness trackers the better placed we are to make crucial changes in our lives to be as fit and healthy as possible.

Tracking your daily step goal and hours you’ve slept is great. But we’re going to see even more metrics being captured with more devices designed with specific sports in mind … running watches to capture data like cadence, ground contact time and stride length so athletes can improve their performance.

Maybe one day we’ll even find a way to measure the calmness and pose accuracy of yogis.”

Over the summer break, I Want Fitness women’s bootcamp founder Isabella Van Zuylen found a way to keep her clients moving with a 5 Week Step Challenge using the MatchUp app, which pulls data from different fitness trackers.

With her clients averaging 3,500 steps in a 45 minute bootcamp session, Van Zuylen wanted to inspire her crew to keep moving, and keep in touch, over the break.

Her instinct was right. Some of her clients clocked up more than 20,000 steps a day (15km), even while holidaying by the beach.

“The peer support matters. Watching other women climb the leaderboard got the competitive juices flowing. A lot of the girls kept jostling for first place. It was a great way to keep people motivated and engaged, especially after I asked people to post pictures of themselves out ‘walking’ to the Facebook page.”

Winner Nicole Osborne took out the title with a record 681,681 steps, traversing an incredible 520 kilometres in 35 days.

“We were on a family holiday at Rosebud and I just decided not to use the car. We walked everywhere – the beach, the shops, the pier, and of course I was always running after my very active four year old twin girls Maya and Ella.”

Runner up Amanda Spencer joked that next time she’d have to consider walking back to Melbourne from her campsite in Cobram to take out the crown.

“It definitely motivated me to keep on moving. I'll catch you next time, Nicole.”

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