How artificial intelligence will power the future of fitness and well-being

The pandemic has driven an unprecedented digital transformation and shifted the gears to accelerate on the adoption of at-home fitness and wellness technologies.
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Imagine a day in the future when you wake up to an alarm buzz of a smart assistant. Well, you may wonder is that not something available already in the present day? That’s right, but what if the smart assistant also transforms itself into a ‘smart fitness trainer’ that can interact and guide on a personalised workout routine depending on your wellness goals, prevailing health conditions, and recovery needed based on previous night’s sleep pattern?

Yes, in future, those smart assistants could become one’s true ‘wellness’ companion to help individuals keep up with their habits and maintain healthy lifestyle – be it Mindfulness, Exercise, Diet, and Sleep (MEDS).

That day in the future is not too far away.

The pandemic has driven an unprecedented digital transformation and shifted the gears to accelerate on the adoption of at-home fitness and wellness technologies.

From smart mats and smart mirrors to kettlebells and cycling bikes, everything is connected to understand the user’s lifestyle better to create a more holistic and personalised fitness journey and deliver an immersive virtual workout experience straight to individual’s fitness / living room.

Based on the evidence and various case studies, a healthy lifestyle with daily MEDS discipline has been found to hold the potential to reverse the lifestyle diseases and eventually replace the prescribed meds.

While it is true that world is slowly coming out of the pandemic and people have started cautiously stepping into the gyms, the pandemic fundamentally changed the way we live, play, work, and even workout.

Most people have started to accept the reality of new way of living in a hybrid environment, where the boundaries between physical and virtual worlds would blur – thanks to the rapid evolution and adoption of technology that continues to evolve to simplify our lives.

Yoga movement & fitness revolution

Fitness revolution actually began a few years before the pandemic struck the world. The primary reason was the alarming rise in the heart disease due to inactive lifestyle and mental stress, which according to the WHO report has been the leading cause of death (70 percent) and besides the early onset age down to mid 30’s was really concerning.

Around the same time, Yoga became prime movement ever since the UN declared International Day of Yoga on June 21 in 2015, and now, with 300 million practitioners globally. Yoga, a mindful practice of physical postures (asanas) in tandem with the right breathing pattern, when performed under the expert guidance, could reverse many lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, GERD, chronic neck, and back pain, and in some cases doctors prescribed it as lifestyle medicine for faster rehabilitation of cancer patients.

As per Google Search, Yoga was reportedly the most widely searched topic during the pandemic, and naturally it has now become part of doctor’s prescription for preventive healthcare, resulting in the surge in demand for online yoga with content everywhere.

Last five years also observed technology evolution at a speed like never before. Artificial intelligence taking a place in our daily lives is a ‘real’ thing. Specifically, healthcare industry has adopted AI and same is the case with its adjacent vertical of at-home fitness and wellness.

The amalgamation of technology with the age-old practice gives Yoga practitioners the perfect experience of posture correction and balance. Because of this modern spin, a lot of people are being drawn to Yoga to calm their mind body and soul.

However, multiple challenges come in the way of integrating the ancient best practices into one’s daily lifestyle for a stress-free life -- lack of access to good wellness coaches, packed schedules, missing personalised attention in yoga classes, lack of consistent motivation, overwhelming online content causing injury than good, and lastly, no tangible ways to track one’s progress.

Flexibility is a vital factor that has been associated with improved performance and reduced sports related injuries.

By adopting a mind-body lifestyle approach, yoga - that teaches mindfulness along with physical activity - is well suited for stress and symptom management. It is also safe to say that yoga along with modern medicines has been an effective intervention in the treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases

The pandemic has increased the number of people in the community suffering from stress related mental health disorders. To tackle the issue, many yoga practitioners and schools of yoga have adopted tele yoga platform to help people during these crucial times.

According to a report by Research N Reports, the value of the global fitness technology market is estimated to grow from $17.9 billion in 2019 to $62.1 billion by 2025.

Technology-infused yoga

Fast-paced lives and hectic lifestyles in the contemporary times have made it difficult for us to make time to go to the gym. Not everyone can find the motivation to travel long distances to work-out and this is where AI comes in the picture.

AI provides users with a step-by-step workout session that they can enjoy from the comfort of their home, finding balance between work and yoga. An AI-based assistant guides people to accurately perform asanas to enhance flexibility and balance.

The audio-based fitness apps now available in the market not only offer personalised fitness and lifestyle plans but also monitor one’s eating habits and fitness levels through wearable gadgets like smart yoga mats, smart watches, fitness trackers, interactive clothes, etc.

Now, anyone can practice Yoga at home without travelling and worrying about additional expenses, anytime, with the help of voice assistant that gives flawless instructions to improve the poses of the practitioner.

Conclusion

A few visionary and innovative startups have already scripted this future with their smart and connected fitness tech equipment in the market and paving the way for this tech to evolve and build a healthy generation and happy community in future.

Tech Yoga has influenced many individuals to pursue yoga given the constant support and this seems to be the future of At-home yoga. The blend of AI and Yoga that gives an invincible experience will speedily spread across the globe in the coming times.

This technological advancement must be unconventional for Yogis but these concepts are gearing up to reach larger audiences. Virtual Yoga assistance is being adopted by people in large numbers lately, making obvious that Tech Yoga is here to stay.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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