Increased public awareness of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle have driven massive growth within the associated industries.
Health and fitness is now big business, with most of the sectors that fall into this category generating billions of dollars in revenue each year.
The landscape has changed dramatically since the turn of the century, with new innovations transforming how the health and fitness industry operates.
With that in mind, we assess some interesting developments that could have a massive impact on health and fitness in the future.
One of the most interesting facts about supplements is the global market size was valued at $151.9 billion in 2021 and is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% during the next decade.
Advancements in research have been a primary driver for the industry’s success, and that trend is fully expected to continue over the coming years.
An exciting development could be the introduction of slow-release supplements, which use proven substances from the pharmaceutical industry to slow down the rate at which tablets dissolve.
This delivery system has an advantage over other food-grade controlled-release technologies and would give obvious health benefits to consumers.
Plant-based sports nutrition
Many sports nutrition products have previously had a bad rap, with the false claims made by manufacturers about their effectiveness central to this.
Dodgy ingredient formulations have not helped matters, leading millions of consumers to steer well clear of using such products.
The situation is slowly changing, with some of the best sports nutrition brands introducing natural ingredients and low sugar content into their product ranges.
Plant-based formulations are expected to be one of the primary drivers behind revenue growth in the sports nutrition sector over the next few years.
Digital health & fitness communities
Organisations in the health and fitness industry have increasingly been using digital platforms to market their goods and services in recent times.
While this is likely to continue apace, there may be a noticeable shift towards brands using digital communities to improve their reach.
The social connectivity provided by platforms such as Facebook and Instagram make it easy for health and fitness brands to target a wider audience.
By using existing customers to market on their behalf through their network of digital communities, companies in the sector will increase revenues without too much financial outlay.
Active video gaming
Also known as exergaming, active video gaming first became a global phenomenon when Nintendo launched the immersive Wii console back in 2006.
Exergaming remains hugely popular today, with all of the popular gaming platforms offering a range active/fitness related games.
The genre looks certain to keep evolving in the next few years, with virtual reality (VR) technology expected to facilitate a huge leap forward in exergaming.
Several global fitness brands have invested massive resources into the development of VR experiences and it should soon be part and parcel of the industry.
Wearable technology remains an ever-evolving sector, with the top companies in the sector in the midst of an arms race to make devices smaller yet more powerful.
Public spending on wearable devices worldwide is on track to top $90bn this year and it is unlikely to be too long before the $100bn barrier is broken.
We anticipate that future wearables may become more hidden, perhaps by adding a thin film inside existing jewellery to measure and report on key personal data.
Much like many other elements of modern technology, developers have probably only just scratched the surface of possibilities in wearable technology to date.
While standalone fitness apps can be extremely lucrative for publishers, the marketplace has become rather saturated in recent years.
Many smartphone manufacturers now include fitness trackers in their devices, which is forcing fitness app publishers to be more creative.
Social fitness apps, guided workout apps and diet apps are amongst the innovations we believe will become increasingly prevalent in the next few years.
It is currently estimated that around 800 million worldwide use at least one fitness app – this is certain to increase as the technology becomes more sophisticated.
Telemedicine has become a buzzword in recent years, but has actually been around in different forms for around five decades.
However, the supporting technology has only recently started to deliver the successful patient outcomes that people desire from telemedicine.
Concerns over digital privacy and cyber security remain major issues for telemedicine to overcome, but the problems are gradually being eradicated.
Given its potential to ease the strain on overstretched healthcare systems, we anticipate that telemedicine will become commonplace in the next few years.
The first robots in the medical field provided surgical assistance via robotic arm technologies during the 1980s.
Artificial intelligence (AI)–enabled computer vision and data analytics have since transformed medical robots, expanding their capabilities into several other healthcare areas.
Robots are now used to support healthcare workers, enhance patient care and significantly improve the timescales for life-saving research studies.
As technologies continue to evolve, robots will function more autonomously in healthcare, eventually performing certain tasks entirely on their own.
The final word
The start of the 21st century has witnessed significant changes in many elements of health and fitness, and things will continue to evolve moving forward.
Significant advancements will be seen not only in the developed world, but also in regions where public health has been difficult to manage.
Each of the innovations we have mentioned look sure to have a major impact, although robotics is probably the one which will shake things up the most.
Easing the burden on the healthcare sector via robotics will be crucial in supporting a global population that is continuing to increase.