Even as public gyms and other facilities reopen and implement new safety precautions, many individuals have turned to at-home fitness in order to keep themselves safe and healthy; this choice largely came as the result of initial closures and stay-at-home mandates, but once those ended, the trend continued to remain strong. In addition to the shift to remote fitness classes and independent regimens, the pandemic also prompted an acceleration of technological development that has already improved the effectiveness and consistency of solitary fitness goals.
It’s important to acknowledge that exercise technology had already been relatively advanced and that the trajectory of increased development was already underway even prior to this year; however, it is apparent that the pandemic contributed to a faster rate of evolution in light of the shift to at-home fitness.
The Ubiquity of Peloton
For many working adults who found themselves stuck at home or without employment this year, investing in a home gym to keep themselves occupied and healthy simply wasn’t an option. Whether the result of limited space for equipment or budgetary concerns, a dedicated space for fitness simply wasn’t possible for a large percentage of people. Still, even at the start of the pandemic, there was a notable gravitation toward well-known brands that had already demonstrated significant technological advancements;
Smart equipment like the Peloton bike were hot-ticket items for fitness enthusiasts with the space and financial freedom to invest; its high-tech capabilities coupled with a host of positive reviews made it a desirable item, especially during periods of social isolation and inactivity, and the company has become ubiquitous with a market cap that has risen above $37 billion since its inception in 2012. Peloton may not be ideal for certain fitness needs or desires, such as strength training, but its ability to connect people from their own homes certainly influenced consumer habits as they sought a means to exercise and be connected.
JaxJox and The Need for Technological Evolution
For those who were unable or unwilling to invest in items like the Peloton bike, options were rather limited at the start of the pandemic. The need for high-tech equipment, data tracking technology, and interconnectivity became apparent early on, and brands like JaxJox rose to the challenge. JaxJox founder Stephen Owusu wanted to develop a dumbbell that could assist with strength training tracking; while there are plenty of devices available that can track heart rate, steps, and more, Owusu noticed a lack of technology specifically designed for strength training.
As a result, JaxJox created the KettlebellConnect, and over the course of the pandemic, the company accelerated their development to launch a full home gym consisting of just five items: a touch-screen TV, the upgraded KettlebellConnect, a foam roller, the DumbbellConnect, and the PushUpConnect.
In many ways, the JaxJox home gym aims to solve a few problems that have developed as the result of the surge of at-home fitness. Their home gym is relatively compact and boasts various several weight options for the smart equipment; the true selling point, however, is the software this home gym features. It not only tracks workouts that use the smart equipment but also other fitness activities such as walks or runs as well as resting periods. Using all of this data, the JaxJox software is able to make educated recommendations to better inform an individual’s habits.
What Does The Future of Exercise Technology Look Like?
If the popularity of Peloton and the rapid development of JaxJox software is any indication of the future, fitness and exercise technology will continue to become more convenient, intuitive, and personalized. What is remarkable about the development of companies like JaxJox is that the data-oriented and interconnective technology is not new; however, in light of the pandemic and its subsequent requirements for social distancing and quarantining, these technological capabilities became all the more important.
With an increase of subscription services, a shift toward digitally-guided workouts resulting in a 47% increase of fitness and health apps in the second quarter of 2020 (equating to 656 million downloads during that period alone), more individuals working from home than ever before, and a consistent desire for human connection, the JaxJox model seems to make sense. Even if we see a recovery that allows traditional gyms and workout classes to resume, the investments made in high-tech home equipment, as well as the consistent rates of effectiveness of such devices and practices, will likely contribute to a lasting trend in home-based fitness and exercise technology.