One of the biggest growth sectors during the 21st century has been health and fitness, and the trend looks set to continue for many years to come.
Advancements in technology have helped to power the growth, introducing exciting innovations which have had a massive impact on the health and fitness industry.
Public awareness of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle is at an all-time high, which has further contributed to the global boom in the sector.
With 2024 just around the corner, we look at some of the key health and fitness trends to keep an eye on over the next year.
Digital Community Marketing
Digital technology has transformed how health and fitness organisations market themselves by providing them with much easier access to their audience.
Operational modes in the sector are continuing to evolve and we expect to see a greater shift towards digital community marketing in 2024.
Social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have already been used successfully by the health and fitness sector in recent years.
Digital community marketing will become more prevalent next year as businesses use their existing customers to reach out to their network of contacts on their behalf.
In an age where increasing demands are placed on people’s time, getting the optimum amount of nutrients through dietary intake alone can be tricky.
Some elements of the supplements industry previously got a bad rap, but a growing body of scientific research has helped to legitimise the sector.
One of the biggest areas for growth in 2024 is likely to be supplements for training, which the experts at PreWorkout.org have tipped to enjoy a massive boom.
Used correctly, pre-workout supplements have been proven to deliver tangible performance gains, and firms in the sector look set to enjoy a productive future.
Sports nutrition is another area where research has helped firms operating in the sector improve their reputation over the past few years.
Shady practices surrounding ingredient formulations are largely a thing of the past as people have become more aware of the need to question what they put into their bodies.
The top brands have increasingly gravitated to developing products containing more natural ingredients and this trend will continue during 2024.
Plant-based sports nutrition formulations are likely to become more prevalent, particularly with people who undertake regular training as part of a weight loss programme.
While wearable technology is already big business, developers have yet to reach the peak of what is likely to be achievable in this sector.
From a design perspective, wearables are following the same trajectory as mobile phones, which went from oversized devices to something you could fit in your pocket.
Wearables are likely to become less visible as the technology advances further, while solar-powered devices may become more prevalent.
Medical wearables will also become more sophisticated, which will potentially improve healthcare outcomes for millions of people worldwide.
Visit any of popular app stores and you will be inundated with a ton of suggestions if you search for the term ‘fitness apps’.
Much like wearables, fitness app technology is evolving rapidly and what passes for ‘exciting innovation’ at the moment may become redundant next year.
Guided workout apps and specialised diet apps have been growing in popularity and we anticipate these will become more commonplace in 2024.
Gamification will be a core construct of the next wave of fitness apps as developers incorporate game-inspired elements into their creations.
Virtual reality (VR) technology has been on the cusp of making a big breakthrough in numerous sectors in recent years, but limitations in the supporting hardware hindered its progress.
Many of those issues appear to have been address and VR now looks ready to make its mark, particularly where the health and fitness sector are concerned.
Recent research showed that VR exergaming improved how participants felt about exercise and reduced how much food they ate after they finished.
The study highlights the potential of VR to improve health and fitness, and the technology is on track to enjoy a boom time during 2024 and beyond.
Robotics technology has been used in the medical industry for around 40 years, but there are still plenty of elements that could be improved.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has had a transformational effect on the impact made by medical robots and this will continue during the next year.
In addition to alleviating the pressure on overstretched healthcare staff, robots will help researchers find solutions to life-threating conditions more effectively.
The day is not too far away where robots will perform healthcare tasks without human supervision, further enhancing the care received by patients.
Hot & Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy has long been a staple part training programmes for elite level athletes, but it is becoming increasingly popular with the general public.
While the practice of using ‘good stress’ to lower ‘negative stress’ is not new, the ways this is being achieved are becoming far more sophisticated.
Innovations such as at-home infrared saunas and cold therapy machines are amongst the products that are threatening to make a massive splash in 2024.
Therapies of this nature help to reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins, repair muscle damage and boost immunity, all of which improves health and fitness.
The Final Word
The health and fitness sector has undergone massive changes since the turn of the century and things are guaranteed to keep evolving over the coming years.
From a global perspective, the developments we have witnessed over the past couple of decades are tremendously exciting.
Increased connectivity should ensure that the innovations which have impacted affluent nations should also make their mark in underdeveloped countries.
While there is still plenty of work to be done to deliver public health parity worldwide, the speed at which boundaries are being pushed increase the hope this will one day be achieved.