Have you been slogging to lose kilos but to no avail and are looking for a health expert? Welcome to the world of fitness apps, wristbands and online services that are helping people achieve health goals straight from the comfort of their homes.
It is estimated that “consumers spent more than $200 billion globally in 2014 on health and fitness services”, according to Woody Scal, chief revenue officer of Fitbit Inc, the global leader in the health and fitness market.
And the trend is fast catching up with fitness enthusiasts in India. “People aspire to improve their health and fitness. At the same time, high rates of health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cancer are driving individuals to look for innovative ways to gain a fitter body in India,” Scal told this reporter in an email.
But with more and more gyms and fitness centres being opened in cities across the country, do we really need fitness on the go?
“Unfortunately, not even 20 per cent of these gyms have certified trainers,” said Sri Lakshmi, a strength and conditioning coach at HealthifyMe, an online website and mobile app that gives access to personal trainers and customised plans.
With Fitbit and Jawbone coming to India, most of the global players in fitness wearables are making a beeline to enter the wearable health segment. “A recent Accenture’s Digital Consumer Tech Survey found that Indian consumers were most interested in buying fitness monitors (80 per cent) and smartwatches (76 per cent); so we believe this will be a strong market,” noted Scal on India being a viable market in this category.
“Though the Indian market is at a nascent stage as compared to the west, the entry of several brands blended with the advent of wearable technology is making this vertical very promising,” noted Anupam Mathur, head (sales and marketing), Timex Group India. The integration of digital technology with health devices have led to many Indian fitness apps and online startups cropping up. SmartRX, a startup which has established its presence in the US, facilitates remote monitoring and offers real-time audio video interaction with health specialists.
“This convergence of digital and healthcare has resulted in wearables that track parameters such as heart rate and movement through built-in sensors that provide insights into the wearer’s health,” emphasised Mathur. Depending on the device, one can track movements, workouts, distance, speeds, calories burned, heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature and the like.“The winning formula will be when the smartphone starts acting as your personal coach, your personal nutritionist and your personal doctor,” Lakshmi added.