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Pandemic fueling demand for fitness tech, gadgets

There will be many who will return to gyms when they’re able to do so, but more than ever will decide to stick with home gyms, virtual workouts and wearable fitness tech.

Experts say innovation is expected to continue over the next several years with plenty of new fitness tech and gadgets spotlighted during CES 2021.

“The vast majority of people are going more towards the home fitness solution, so they’re either investing in equipment for the home, or they’re using online or digital options like workout classes and fitness courses,” said Nicholas Rizzo, fitness research director at RunRepeat.com. “That’s where the main shift is happening.”

Companies like Apple are making a major play in the wellness sector, with its December 2020 debut of its Fitness+ subscription that offers workout classes for Apple Watch users, said Rizzo. Fitness+ currently costs $9.99 a month.

Biometric data from wearables and gadgets will remain popular in 2021.

“Within the health and fitness realm, it’s not just the quote-unquote gym rats or muscle heads that want real-time data, it’s going to be something where we all have access to data about our health and wellbeing at our fingertips,” said Rizzo. “There are apps that track everything and give you a holistic display of your workout activity, your sleep or how your heart rate is fluctuating. It seems like we’re getting into that direction and people want more individualized solutions, and that’s where companies are trying to take it.”

Fitness and wellness tech have improved in recent years, with new entrants each year. The list of sports and wellness exhibitors featured in CES 2021 Innovation Awards include:

Bowflex bike: The Bowflex VeloCore indoor bike features your traditional stationary setting and a leaning mode in which users can push and pull the bike from side-to-side, replicating the movement of outdoor cycling. The bike also includes a 22-inch HD touch screen with a fitness service that offers custom coaching and a library of trainer-led content.

EVAD-1: This fitness eyewear by Julbo provides runners with real-time data like beats per minute, pace, speed and distance. Data on a runner’s performance can all be seen thanks to its heads-up display directly in the field of view.

ARK Sports: This giant interactive wall aims to get users to get active through 25 different games, exercises and training programs. The ARK Sports is billed as a 12 meter long, 1 1/2 meter high digital wall and resists feet, shoulder and arm impacts and detects up to 1200 simultaneous contact points.

HidrateSpark STEEL: Water bottles are also getting “smart.” The HidrateSpark STEEL is a stainless-steel, vacuum-insulated smart water bottle that keeps water cold up to 24 hours. The LED sensor at the base of the bottle glows different colors to remind users to drink and automatically tracks your water intake via Bluetooth with a connected app. The water bottle also syncs across various devices including Apple Watch, Fitbit and more.

Contact Jonathan Ng at jng@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ByJonathanNg on Twitter.

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