Fitness tracking

Why has it become so popular?

The London Marathon; one of the UK’s most popular sporting events. Every year, thousands upon thousands of fitness fanatics make the 26.2 mile journey from the start line, through many of London’s iconic roads, right to the red tape at the finish. The marathon has become a great opportunity for people to challenge themselves, have fun, raise money for good causes, and ever increasingly, track their fitness data.

Tracking personal fitness data is becoming more and more popular; so much so it is almost a ‘hobby’ for some. There has always been an innate fascination of tracking personal data such as weight and diet, but only recently, with the rise of health technology and self-quantification, has fitness tracking broken onto the scene.


Why has fitness tracking suddenly become so popular?

There are so many potential reasons as to why fitness data tracking has taken off in the last few years; but none more-so than the sudden spike in the quality of tracking technology such as mobile apps and wearable devices. Enhancements in wearable devices particularly have come thick and fast over the last five years, with it becoming so much easier to self-quantify personal fitness data in a simple and effective way.

So, is it just the quality of health technology which has caused the sudden surge of health tracking popularity? Alongside the quality of apps and wearable technology, a much wider variety of technology has been developed which gives consumers more choice; the ever expanding health-tech market just seems to keep on growing, and shows no sign of faltering any time soon. The competitive nature of the ehealth market has allowed businesses to explore more innovative and ground-breaking designs than ever before.

The mobile app market is now saturated with thousands of fitness tracking apps; the problem is, it can be difficult to decipher which are useful and which are useless. We've recently reviewed Dacadoo and S Health; both are extremely successful at what they try to achieve; and both have a range of features that are simple and effective to use.


App features; does less mean more?

The quality and quantity of features obviously play a huge part in how successful an app or wearable device is; but that completely depends on what the consumer is looking for. Some consumers want an app that acts only as a pedometer, whereas others want a device that can track fitness, diet, sleeping patterns, heart rate and other data patterns.

For something as big as the London Marathon, consumers want a variety of features to track every last piece of data. For David Guest, who recently completed the gruelling 26.2 miles in a very respectable time of 3:52:44, tracking running data is very important.


“I always track my data when I run and always have done. It began with mobile phone apps, but I soon became serious enough to procure a GPS watch and I’ve never looked back. The live feedback that you get from these is priceless as a runner – especially if you are targeting a particular finishing time or you want to train at a certain intensity. Live view of your stats is a huge helping hand when aiming to beat your personal running goals.”

“During the marathon I was able to see my minutes per mile pace at any time as well as my overall time, splits and also heart rate. Without this aid, I don’t think I would have achieved my goal of finishing in under four hours.”

“I couldn’t have achieved this on my first ever marathon without an activity tracker. It takes the guesswork out of running.”

See below for a breakdown of Davids mile splits, which clearly show a steady pace with a fast finish.
Race Analysis

The piece of wearable technology that David used, a Garmin VivoActive GPS watch, obviously helped him to complete his goals in the marathon. Without this technology, it would have been very difficult for him to pace himself throughout the run and achieve the time that he aimed for.

Tracking fitness data has, in recent years, turned into a hobby for many fitness fanatics.  Advances in the market have allowed many, like David, to track their own fitness data in a bid to complete their own goals. Accurate fitness tracking using apps and wearable devices has only burst onto the scene over the last few decades; and yet it is already hugely popular.

The market is continuously growing and expanding; but no one piece of fitness tracking technology is perfect. Advancements will come in the form of new, innovative technology… but this is a marathon; fitness data tracking is here to stay.