Like many of us I have often struggled balancing regular exercise with a busy work schedule. This is especially an issue for me as my sport of choice was swimming and the only time the pool here in Zurich is not like the Gotthard Tunnel during peak times is mid-afternoon. I must also admit that even when work does permit my afternoon swim it can be all too easy to find reasons not to go swimming, particularly when it’s cold and wet outside.
We all know however that regular exercise is important – and for me that especially so as I control my autoimmune disease … and contend with my ageing body. The fitness industry has blossomed as companies cater to this increased awareness of the value of exercise coupled with people’s busy schedules, as well as the increased pressure on us to look fit and healthy (thank you Instagram). It is no surprise then to see the likes of Fitbit see revenue coming in at over $1 billion, as they take advantage of this dynamic.
It is however not just companies like Fitbit that are benefiting from need to exercise and be healthy. There are a growing number of online influencers and sports trainers and coaches who are providing services and support to their customers online, for example through YouTube channels and blogs. It is thanks to these, and today’s technology and the internet, that increasingly means people do not have to pay expensive gym (or pool!) memberships that they never use to get their exercise fix and indeed people no longer need to leave the comfort of their own home to exercise.
In my case it was my discovery on yoga on YouTube that led not only to me adding a new sport to list of hobbies but also led to me now doing exercise at least once a day (but most days twice). I no longer have to allocate time in my calendar for travel to and from the pool, but rather can just hop on my yoga mat from home and get straight into a session. Thanks to Youtube, and Yoga with Adrienne, I am now fitter than I have ever been. Thanks to YouTube I have my own private “classes” at home – free of charge – which I can do whenever is the most convenient time for me.
Whilst we may like to focus on the sexy side of health tech – such as Wearables and VR – it is actually social media that is leading to some of the biggest impact in this area. It is thanks to platforms like YouTube that we can see a democratisation of sport, where sport such as yoga, is no longer just for those who can afford to go to classes or gyms, but is now available to anyone. The convenience that guided home exercise also makes this type of sport more accessible as people can fit their exercise routine in around their busy day – and not around when the classes are or when the gym is open.
We often hear about the negative side of people staying at home surfing the web – but here is an example of the positive side to this. I for one will be forever grateful to YouTube, and Adrienne, for providing me with the option of practicing my new sport from the comfort of my home which not only helped me through a difficult time but also has helped me maintain my health … and keep my weight down.