Saturday, December 14, 2019
ApplicationAR AppsAugmented Reality

Augmented Fitness: Can Augmented Reality Make More People Exercise?

On how the immersive ability of augmented reality is contributing to the fitness industry.

When it comes to diet and fitness, people are always on the lookout to try just about everything. From Paleo diets to the raw food movement, and even hypnosis, it’s an endless quest to get individuals to prioritize their fitness goals. Could augmented reality further support our fitness goals?

 

Augmented Reality and the Fitness Industry

There are so many strategies to stay fit. However, it seems that the battle of the bulge is continuing to be challenging for so many Americans. In fact, almost 93.3 million adults in the country belong to the obese category. Adult obesity has steadily increased, affecting 30.5% of adults in 2000, it is now currently a problem for 39.6% of the American population.

Hence, researchers and innovators are continuing to look for solutions for this growing health epidemic. And one concept that has attracted attention is the use of augmented reality in exercise routines.

Most notable as the technology in the worldwide phenomenon Pokémon GO, augmented reality has been steadily innovating industries including marketing, healthcare, aviation, tourism, and more.

 

Augmented Reality Boosts Engagement in Exercise

With an AR app, fitness enthusiasts can improve their workout experience even when the weather prevents them from exercising outside. Because it enables a fully immersive space where an individual can interact with objects that are not actually there, workouts become extra stimulating whether done indoors or outdoors.

Aside from its immersive feature, AR apps can also provide data in real-time. This works two ways: one, you prevent overstraining your body as you can track your movements. Two, you can boost efficiency, because you’re perfectly aware when to amp up the energy or take it down a notch. Every detail, from heart rate, distance covered, to calories burned becomes a useful set of measures to keep you on track.

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Aside from the benefit of accessing real-time data, augmented reality can give you a more motivating workout experience. The gamification feature of this technology means that you get to incorporate fun games or tasks to make your exercise interactive.

And there are also dedicated fitness apps that actively document your fitness activity so you can review your performance.

 

Fitness AR

One example is Fitness AR, which lets you explore your Strava bike rides and runs in augmented reality.  It uses Apple’s ARKit to “pin” a topographical map of your hike or walking trail. If you’re new in town, just simply open the app and let it render spots for you in a few minutes. Once it loads, you can explore a mountain trail or hiking path. This gives you an idea of what to expect on your next run.

And after each run, bike, or hike session, you can admire the 3D model of the terrain you have just traversed. And it even lets you brag a little by enabling video and image sharing as well!

 

Zombies, Run!

Are you a fan of both running and zombies? Then Zombies, Run! is right up your alley. This is not your typical AR app. Creators actually call it an augmented audio app. Nevertheless, the app gets you moving, and fast – as if you’re running away from a zombie apocalypse. Aside from feeding you ambient zombie noise, and transforming your reality into a zombie-infested one, this app also combines AR with gamification. As you complete your running goals, you earn important items. Before you know it, you’re fit enough to outrun a horde of zombies.

 

Pokémon GO

Now, if the two apps above are way too demanding for your taste, Pokémon GO might be the best starter AR fitness app for you. While most people might only see it as an AR gaming app, it’s no doubt Pokémon GO has made the younger generation go out and about in search for prized Pokémons. As they use the apps, they also unwittingly exercise, strengthening their cardiovascular health through walking or even brisk walking.

 

Future of Augmented Reality in Fitness

Millions of Americans are trying to find ways to fight obesity and the health risks associated with it. Using immersive technology is definitely a step in the right direction to increase engagement and elevate the fun factor in workouts.

While the fitness industry is yet to adopt augmented reality in their training programs, it will certainly attract and intrigue more Americans, especially the young ones, to get off their couch and become more active and embrace a healthier lifestyle through fun exercises.

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Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing.