Fitness App Challenges and Benefits


Fitness App Challenges and Benefits

New Year, new me is the famous slogan surrounding every New Year’s Eve. It is as iconic as the ball drop on Times Square or the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Like the ball and the tree, the slogan tends to fade in the minds of the new and enthusiastic gym frequenters relatively quickly. They can seek refuge in online applications for fitness and working out, but sadly, the use of said apps also declines after a while. Therefore, users must know the benefits and common pitfalls surrounding these applications to utilize and reach goals with a fitness app successfully.

What Is a Fitness App?

In the increasingly digital world, many options are available in the app store for almost any activity under the sun. The healthcare industry takes on a lot of challenges, from security and validity to providing remote care and following necessary legislation. Medical devices and software, such as wearable medical devices and mental health apps, fall under the category of products that the Food and Drug Administration Agency regulates. Workout apps do not.

The FDA outlines its reasons based on a risk/benefit assessment of the software. If we are talking about applications that have intended medical use and could potentially cause more harm than benefit if the software doesn’t perform as intended – the FDA regulates it. Apple Watch welcomed that fate when it introduced its electrocardiogram feature, making it a health-tracking app and a potential clinical decision support system.

Fitness applications don’t fulfill that category. Instead, the FDA views them as low-risk products since users aren’t subjected to potentially harmful features. Instead, they are designed to help users raise their overall fitness and wellness levels. They can be oriented toward raising overall fitness levels, working out, nutrition, or tracking. In general, we can distinguish between the three types of these applications. Those are:

  • Workout apps
  • Nutrition apps
  • Activity trackers

These apps are available in large volumes in the app store, so users have a significant challenge in finding the one that’s right for them. Additionally, many of these applications lack proper backing since, let’s face it, anyone can post an app and claim that it provides users with x, y, or z benefits. We can make an example of mental health applications available in the app store. Unlike a workout app, applications for mental health are FDA regulated, and currently, only five apps in that category are up to the agency’s standard. For comparison, roughly 20 000 apps directed at mental health are currently available in the app store. That doesn’t leave users with a lot to work with.

Fitness App Market Size

The growing number of users of these applications speaks volumes about the scope and value of the market. That said, the amount of users in and of itself doesn’t say much since, much like with other facets of the healthcare industry, applications for fitness have low retention rates: on average, 19% of users continue using them throughout the entire year, while 31% of users opt to rely on this technology for three months.

This information is juxtaposed with the following data: 86.3 million people used fitness apps in the United States in 2022, and 17 million people downloaded the leading apps in this category worldwide.

Unsurprisingly, the market for this software was valued at $5.1 billion in 2021, and it is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16%. Considering all the applications that fit this category, 2.48 billion health and fitness apps were downloaded in 2021.

Fitness App Challenges

There are several challenges that developers of these types of technologies have to keep in mind. Like other applications within the healthcare industry, fitness has significant obstacles to overcome. Some are unique to their category. Others are universal and spread through forms of digital health delivery. One of those concerns is security in privacy.

Privacy Concerns

Like any other software, a fitness app must be adequately developed and implemented with the user in mind. That means that protecting sensitive data is one of the necessary features for the app’s successful deployment. Remember the famous incident in which Strava, the fitness tracker app, gave away the positions of secret US databases because its users were on active duty?

When not defending the home of the brave, military personnel can enjoy their sets of crunches and should be able to do so without fear that their location is three clicks away. Although the regular workout app user isn’t concerned about his position being served to the enemy, it is nevertheless a concern that needs addressing: 52% of users reported not feeling safe as a reason for not using an app that tracks location.

Saturated Market

As we mentioned before, there are a lot of apps to choose from. Decision paralysis is real, so users must complete due diligence to find a fitness app that works for them and their lifestyle. Developers have to keep in mind that the average attention span of a user doesn’t exceed several seconds (for social media). We see a similar trend in these applications: they all struggle with user retention. Developers should remember this when creating applications and focus on features that increase retention and motivate users to keep working. After all, 72% of users claim that fitness apps inspire them to reach their fitness goals.

Competitive Environment

With so many new apps popping up daily, developers need help staying competitive and adding features that will attract new users better than the competition. In doing so, they sometimes rush certain features or release an app that isn’t ready.

Developers can find solutions in agile environments and short sprints that allow them to focus on necessary features, ultimately providing an app without launching issues or unresponsiveness. Fitness software must run smoothly to ensure higher retention rates and solve the fitness industry’s problems.

Benefits of Fitness Apps

Help With Motivation

Users have already reported that applications for working out help them motivate themselves. Regardless of how we feel, it is important to get that workout done. Paying a membership fee is something that users aren’t just willing to let go of. Therefore, notifications, reminders, and just the app’s icon floating in front of the user’s eyes will make users feel more inclined not to skip that workout session.

Help Monitor Diet

Health and fitness apps can be used as food monitoring apps. You can put in your desired results and then input your meals to allow the app to calculate the necessary caloric intake, whether you went over it or to send you a notification you are going overboard.

Many individuals struggle with binge eating. Therefore, utilizing these apps for nutrition is something to consider, especially for people trying to trim down a bit.

Help With Workout Ideas

A workout application provides the user with guidelines and tips on improving and maximizing the benefits of each workout session. They correct bad form and posture and provide alternative exercises for the desired results. Relying on these applications allows users to create, mix, and play with exercises, ensuring fun with every workout session to get that summer body.

Help Monitor Progress

Just like these apps can give you ideas and guidelines, they can also help you track your progress and ensure that you’re doing what needs to be done. A fitness app lets users upload blood pressure or blood sugar levels, while women can enter their monthly cycle and organize their workouts accordingly. Overall, these applications are designed with the user in mind so they can take their mind off most things and get that workout done.

Fitness App Statistics You Should Know, Infographic