Health & Fitness Column

Only a few use fitness technology

By John Taylor | Jan 29, 2013
Photo by: File John Taylor

A new survey found that 17 percent of American adults are interested in purchasing fitness technological devices to aid their weight loss and athletic performance goals, however, only 4 percent actually use one of these gadgets on a regular basis.
The study, which appeared in this month’s “Wired” Magazine, also found that out of the 30 million Americans who bought a devices such as a pedometer, heart rate monitor, or BodyBug, only eight million actually use their fitness device more than once per week.
The researchers found four common attributes that existed amongst American who purchased and used their fitness technological devices. These characteristics included being a smart phone owner, being optimistic about technology’s place in the fitness world, buying organic produce, and engaging in exercise in their spare time.
Factors such as gender, age, profession, and income were not great indicators if a person would purchase or use one of these fitness gadgets.
“It’s not that I’m against using a fitness product to help track my workouts, but I’ve just never been willing to spend the money on it,” said Doug Knapp, member of the Brick City Running Tribe in Sanford, NC, a community-based running club for participants of all ages and abilities. “What is one of these devices going to give me that I can’t get elsewhere? Being in the running club, I know how far each of my routes are, I have the motivation of other runners to keep me going, and if I enter a race, the competition and thrill of winning is what keeps bringing me back. A gadget can’t give me that.”
For as dependent as our society has become on technology, it seems that fitness is one areas where most Americans aren’t willing to part ways with their money in exchange for personal fitness electronics.
With only 30 million Americans owning one of these products, it stands to reason that the fitness gadget marketplace is wide open, and if somebody can figure out how to make these products more appealing to the masses, there stands to be a large fortune made.
Anybody have any ideas on how to make this happen? What does a fitness device need to offer a consumer in order for a purchase to take place? Does the heart rate monitor need to come in you favorite college’s colors? Does the pedometer need to sing “Gangnam Style” when you reach 10,000 steps? Does the BodyBug need to reassure grandma the grandkids will come visit if she meets her METs goal?
I’m not saying you need these devices to meet your wellness-related goals, but there is a difference between not wanting a gadget due to interest, and not buying one because you don’t know the device’s benefits. Try learning about the features of various fitness devices, and make an informed decision regarding if it’s a fit for your needs.