Gym culture has changed a lot since the days when doing a workout at a fitness facility meant either using free weights or taking a step aerobics class. The options today are far more diverse, and technology has led to an entirely new kind of gym culture. People can now track their heart rates and other details without visiting a doctor to do it; in many cases, such technology is available via workout equipment. The innovation does not stop there (in fact, monitoring the heart rate via gym equipment could be just the beginning of the possibilities). A person who has not stepped inside a gym in years may be amazed at how much has changed.
Video Games and Fitness Equipment
One of the most exciting innovations in fitness technology could be the new ability to play video games while exercising. An example of this is the Blue Goji line of games (available at the iTunes app store). According to GamesBeat lead writer at Venture Beat, Dean Takahashi, this line of games is indicative of a trend toward using games to motivate people to do things they really don’t like doing. Working out on a treadmill can become boring, so playing a game while doing the treadmill could be a great way to stay engaged and committed.
Another noticeable change in gym technology is the trend toward customizable equipment. As Penn State IT Communications writer Laura Ingram describes it, an elliptical machine can now be used as a computer, TV, and personal trainer in one. The fitness facility in the IM Building at Penn State features more than 80 pieces of equipment that are connected to the IM Building’s network. The purpose of this is to enable people to stream media content and use the Internet during their workouts. This can be especially useful to students with hectic schedules, for whom multitasking is considered a must.
Data Tracking Technology
A lot of the new technology offers more than one feature. People at the Penn State facility may also connect their iPhones to certain pieces of equipment, in order to track the time they’ve spent exercising and the equivalent distance in miles they’ve traveled. Those who go to gyms that offer the Blue Goji game equipment can also use the apps to track their fitness progress and compete with others, so even individuals who might not ordinarily be interested in video games can benefit from utilizing this kind of technology.
Dynamic Fitness Classes
The step aerobics classes of the past have given way to a new level of dynamic fitness classes. Pole dancing classes have been highly popular among individuals in several age groups, from the teens to the 60s. Zumba dancing has also become trendy in countless gyms. This Latin style of dancing combines cardiovascular exercise with rhythmic Latin music. Several dance styles are utilized in a typical Zumba class, such as salsa, mambo, calypso, and flamenco. Both pole dancing and Zumba classes require high energy and commitment; while they both can provide a great workout, neither is apt to feel like a routine aerobics class.
Beautifying at the Gym
The gyms of today are also competing with the increasingly busy schedules and demands of modern life. In addition to dancing to Latin music or playing video games while working out, the members of many gyms can even indulge in professional spa and salon services. Some gyms, such as Pro Sports Club, also offer bridal beauty appointments, professional makeup lessons, and other services.
The modern gym has changed dramatically in the last several years. Much of this is due to continually evolving technologies. Other major changes have been implemented to meet the needs of customers with hectic lifestyles.