Fitness and nutrition apps occupy a massive portion of mobile app markets these days. While there’s something to be said for simply heading to the gym or going out for a run without any help from an app, these programs are ultimately designed to make fitness efforts more enjoyable, easier to track, and easier to keep up with. And for that reason they’re well worth exploring.
Even with this category so firmly established at this point however, there are changes coming to fitness apps. New and improving technologies are leading to new and improved ideas, meaning ultimately that mobile workouts may not look the same even two years from now.
These are just some guesses as to where all of this is heading.
A Better Pact
You may have heard of Pact, or GymPact, as it was first known. This was an app in which users essentially wagered that they would complete a given fitness routine in a given amount of time, and made small amounts of money for completing tasks. Unfortunately, Pact got in a spot of trouble for not paying up, so its future is unclear. But a better version of this app seems inevitable. Something like Pact involving AR-based workouts (such as some we’ve seen in which you run through a digital obstacle course on a timer) could even allow users to bet directly against one another in a competitive training environment.
Interactive Real Money Challenges
A Pact-like app as just described is effectively an interactive real money challenge. However, here we’re talking more about a blend of mobile casino gaming and fitness. This idea comes to mind because, citing Pokémon GO as an example of AR gaming, an article about casino gaming noted that augmented reality can take the mobile gaming experience to a new level. Given that Pokémon GO has a fitness component, this calls to mind the possibility of casino-like gaming experiences involving physical activity. We don’t know what those might look like, but don’t put it past the mobile casino business to come up with all new ways for people to play games and spend real money.
This primarily speaks to the idea of cycling, but we’re going to be seeing more and more apps that pair with workout machines to simulate outdoor cardio. Companies like VirZOOM have already made sophisticated VR/cycle combinations that allow us to use apps to feel like we’re out on a country road or famous cycling course while physically pedaling away. And while it’s slightly more complicated, the same general concept can be explored with a treadmill, or at least elliptical.
Artificial Location Motivation
An article on the best apps for mind and body pointed to a couple different apps that are essentially about relaxation and meditation. We’d add yoga as well. These are all activities for which you can already use apps to learn the ropes and practice regularly. But with VR, we can take the average mobile yoga or meditation experience and transport it to an artificial location. It could be a pretty beach, a silent forest, or even a gorgeous rendering of a planet that’s invented solely for the experience. These kinds of things can enhance relaxation and ultimately make the apps more effective.