GET FIT TECH
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and also get the Fit Tech ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window I've already subscribed!
Innovatise UK Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
Innovatise UK Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
Innovatise UK Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
FIT TECH News

Bulk of free fitness apps fail to meet exercise guidelines, says study

By

It’s often said that you get what you pay for, and it seems that fitness apps which cost nothing provide little more than that, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Florida have concluded that the majority of free fitness apps are falling well short in meeting users’ needs. Their study – published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research – found that only one of 30 popular free fitness apps for iPhones meets the majority of guidelines for physical activity from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

The apps were compared to the ACSM guidelines for aerobic exercise, strength or resistance, and flexibility. Each app was scored across those three categories, examining to what extent they adhered to the specific ACSM parameters for safety, warm-ups, cool-downs, stretching, intensity, frequency and progression.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the initial focus the fitness app market has had on heart-rate tracking, more than half the apps met some of the recommendations for aerobic exercise. However, two-thirds of the apps did not meet any of the flexibility criteria.

“While apps have great potential to give more people access to workouts that could help them achieve a healthy weight and fitness level, we found that the vast majority of apps are not as safe as they could be and do not give users the type of well-rounded workouts known to be most effective,” said lead author of the study François Modave.

As well as not meeting the specific criterion for each category, 23 out of the 30 apps did not provide an actual training plan, explain how to choose a workout or explain how to organise the workouts through the week. Experts said these shortcomings make it difficult, especially for beginners, to follow a safe and physiologically sound exercise regimen.

“The issues with these apps place users at risk for injury because the apps fail to prepare them to take on the exercises, use proper techniques and address safety issues surrounding different types of exercise,” added Modave.

“Our hope is that this study, which is the first to explore what extent fitness apps are adhering to the ACSM Guidelines, starts a conversation about how to harness apps to give people high-quality, safe and effective workouts.”

While the study raises some interesting points, it should be highlighted that many of the apps tested (see table below), such as Strava and Daily Yoga, are specifically tailored to one type of training, so evaluating them across a broad range of categories will not necessarily reflect their usefulness to specific users.

The findings come as calls have increased for fitness workers to improve their knowledge of the app market as they begin to play a more prominent role in consumers’ lives.

According to Graeme Hinde, managing director of LFX, it’s imperative that fitness professionals keep abreast of consumer trends to ensure that the gym remains a relevant and engaging environment for physical activity. Speaking at SIBEC 2015, he said instructors should be able to recommend pieces of wearable tech and apps to match their training goals in the same way they would suggest exercises and nutrition plans.

The University of Florida study's table of results

More fit tech news
Peloton has secured a critical US$1bn five-year loan to shore up its finances. The loan has repayment terms which are ...
news • 24 May 2024
Peloton Interactive Inc is believed to be working to get its costs under control in a bid to align with ...
news • 08 May 2024
HoloBike, a holographic training bike that simulates trail rides in lifelike 3D, is aiming to push indoor cycling technology up ...
news • 08 May 2024
Xplor Technologies has unveiled a financing solution for small businesses, which aims to counter the traditional lending process and help ...
news • 08 May 2024
Moonbird is a tactile breathing coach, which provides real-time biofeedback, measuring heart rate and heart rate variability. Studies show it ...
news • 02 May 2024
Atlanta-based boutique fitness software company, Xplor Mariana Tek, has kicked off a push for international expansion. Shannon Tracey, VP of ...
news • 18 Apr 2024
The JD Gyms Group has completed a deal to acquire Simply Gym from Bay Leisure. The deal comprises four gyms: ...
More HCM news
Portugese footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, has launched a health and wellness app that harmonises advice on fitness, nutrition and mental wellness ...
news • 05 Apr 2024
Egym, has signalled its intention to become a dominant force in the corporate wellness sector with the acquisition of UK-based ...
news • 27 Mar 2024
Egym, which raised €207 million last year in new investment, continues to build its top team with the appointment of ...
news • 21 Mar 2024
The UK government acknowledged in its recent budget that economic recovery depends on the health of the nation, but failed ...
news • 11 Mar 2024
Technogym is launching Checkup, an assessment station which uses AI to personalise training programmes in order to create more effective ...
news • 06 Mar 2024
Fitness On Demand (FOD) has teamed up with Les Mills, to offer an omnichannel fitness solution to operators. Fitness on ...
news • 04 Mar 2024
Samsung has unveiled a smart ring, packed with innovative technologies to aid health and wellbeing, which will be available later ...
news • 29 Feb 2024
The ICO has ruled that eight leisure operators have been unlawfully processing the biometric data of their employees to be ...
news • 23 Feb 2024
More consumers are realising meditation is beneficial, but many give up because it’s difficult to master the mind. The Muse ...
news • 21 Feb 2024
Newcomer to the market, Lunar Health Clubs, is gearing up to open its first high-end club this April, in Marlow ...
news • 19 Feb 2024
University of Washington researchers have created a wireless wearable in the form of a thermal earring that continuously monitors a ...
news • 16 Feb 2024
Zumba, and virtual reality workout platform, FitXR, have joined forces to offer mixed-reality versions of Zumba's dance routines. The partnership ...
news • 13 Feb 2024
Triathlon legends, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, have launched a free conversational AI tool to share their vast training knowledge with ...
news • 07 Feb 2024
According to McKinsey’s latest report, The trends defining the US$1.8 trillion global wellness market in 2024, the market for wellness ...
news • 24 Jan 2024
One of the most famous bodybuilders of all time – turned Hollywood actor – turned Californian governor – Arnold Schwarzenegger, ...
news • 23 Jan 2024
Egym has signalled its intention to become a major global player in the health club equipment space, signing up former ...
news • 19 Jan 2024
With pressure on medical services at an all time high, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is calling for ...
news • 17 Jan 2024
Sennheiser has teamed up with Polar Electro for the launch of its Momentum Sport earbuds which deliver Polar’s bio-sensing capabilities ...
news • 09 Jan 2024
The fitness industry is gearing up to engage with the medical profession according to the results of the American College ...
news • 05 Jan 2024
TikTok, has launched into the fitness market with a new hub called #TikTokFitness and a supporting consumer marketing push. The ...
news • 05 Jan 2024
Les Mills has released Les Mills XR Dance for the Meta Quest 3 headset. The release is the company's second ...
news • 20 Dec 2023
Equinox has appointed a Health Advisory Board of medical experts and academics to 'define new frontiers in the science of ...
news • 15 Dec 2023
Horizon Leisure is upgrading and investing in its new shopping-centre health hub – The Wellbeing Hub in Havant, UK – ...
news • 15 Dec 2023
Google has just released Gemini, a new multimodal AI which is being billed as a "ChatGPT Killer". Unlike ChatGPT, it ...
news • 06 Dec 2023
More fit tech news
The focus for two decades was low temperature saltwater hydrotherapy, in particular the CryoSpa Sport ...
We help a wide range of public sector leisure operators (including Leisure Trusts, Leisure Management ...
Lockers
Flooring
Salt therapy products
Cryotherapy
Digital
06-06 Jun 2024
Drayton Manor Theme Park & Resort, Tamworth, United Kingdom
08-10 Oct 2024
Malaga - FYCMA, Malaga, Spain
The focus for two decades was low temperature saltwater hydrotherapy, in particular the CryoSpa Sport ...
We help a wide range of public sector leisure operators (including Leisure Trusts, Leisure Management ...
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free Fit Tech ezine and breaking news alerts
Sign up
Lockers
Flooring
Salt therapy products
Cryotherapy
Digital
06-06 Jun 2024
Drayton Manor Theme Park & Resort, Tamworth, United Kingdom
08-10 Oct 2024
Malaga - FYCMA, Malaga, Spain

features

Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

Sohail Rashid

35 million people a week participate in strength training. We want Brawn to help this audience achieve their goals
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Innovation

Bold move

We ended up raising US$7m in venture capital from incredible investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Primetime Partners, and GingerBread Capital
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

Let’s live in the future to improve today
More features
FIT TECH News

Bulk of free fitness apps fail to meet exercise guidelines, says study

By

It’s often said that you get what you pay for, and it seems that fitness apps which cost nothing provide little more than that, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Florida have concluded that the majority of free fitness apps are falling well short in meeting users’ needs. Their study – published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research – found that only one of 30 popular free fitness apps for iPhones meets the majority of guidelines for physical activity from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

The apps were compared to the ACSM guidelines for aerobic exercise, strength or resistance, and flexibility. Each app was scored across those three categories, examining to what extent they adhered to the specific ACSM parameters for safety, warm-ups, cool-downs, stretching, intensity, frequency and progression.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the initial focus the fitness app market has had on heart-rate tracking, more than half the apps met some of the recommendations for aerobic exercise. However, two-thirds of the apps did not meet any of the flexibility criteria.

“While apps have great potential to give more people access to workouts that could help them achieve a healthy weight and fitness level, we found that the vast majority of apps are not as safe as they could be and do not give users the type of well-rounded workouts known to be most effective,” said lead author of the study François Modave.

As well as not meeting the specific criterion for each category, 23 out of the 30 apps did not provide an actual training plan, explain how to choose a workout or explain how to organise the workouts through the week. Experts said these shortcomings make it difficult, especially for beginners, to follow a safe and physiologically sound exercise regimen.

“The issues with these apps place users at risk for injury because the apps fail to prepare them to take on the exercises, use proper techniques and address safety issues surrounding different types of exercise,” added Modave.

“Our hope is that this study, which is the first to explore what extent fitness apps are adhering to the ACSM Guidelines, starts a conversation about how to harness apps to give people high-quality, safe and effective workouts.”

While the study raises some interesting points, it should be highlighted that many of the apps tested (see table below), such as Strava and Daily Yoga, are specifically tailored to one type of training, so evaluating them across a broad range of categories will not necessarily reflect their usefulness to specific users.

The findings come as calls have increased for fitness workers to improve their knowledge of the app market as they begin to play a more prominent role in consumers’ lives.

According to Graeme Hinde, managing director of LFX, it’s imperative that fitness professionals keep abreast of consumer trends to ensure that the gym remains a relevant and engaging environment for physical activity. Speaking at SIBEC 2015, he said instructors should be able to recommend pieces of wearable tech and apps to match their training goals in the same way they would suggest exercises and nutrition plans.

The University of Florida study's table of results

More fit tech news
Peloton has secured a critical US$1bn five-year loan to shore up its finances. The loan has repayment terms which are ...
news • 24 May 2024
Peloton Interactive Inc is believed to be working to get its costs under control in a bid to align with ...
news • 08 May 2024
HoloBike, a holographic training bike that simulates trail rides in lifelike 3D, is aiming to push indoor cycling technology up ...
news • 08 May 2024
Xplor Technologies has unveiled a financing solution for small businesses, which aims to counter the traditional lending process and help ...
news • 08 May 2024
Moonbird is a tactile breathing coach, which provides real-time biofeedback, measuring heart rate and heart rate variability. Studies show it ...
news • 02 May 2024
Atlanta-based boutique fitness software company, Xplor Mariana Tek, has kicked off a push for international expansion. Shannon Tracey, VP of ...
news • 18 Apr 2024
The JD Gyms Group has completed a deal to acquire Simply Gym from Bay Leisure. The deal comprises four gyms: ...
More HCM news
Portugese footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, has launched a health and wellness app that harmonises advice on fitness, nutrition and mental wellness ...
news • 05 Apr 2024
Egym, has signalled its intention to become a dominant force in the corporate wellness sector with the acquisition of UK-based ...
news • 27 Mar 2024
Egym, which raised €207 million last year in new investment, continues to build its top team with the appointment of ...
news • 21 Mar 2024
The UK government acknowledged in its recent budget that economic recovery depends on the health of the nation, but failed ...
news • 11 Mar 2024
Technogym is launching Checkup, an assessment station which uses AI to personalise training programmes in order to create more effective ...
news • 06 Mar 2024
Fitness On Demand (FOD) has teamed up with Les Mills, to offer an omnichannel fitness solution to operators. Fitness on ...
news • 04 Mar 2024
Samsung has unveiled a smart ring, packed with innovative technologies to aid health and wellbeing, which will be available later ...
news • 29 Feb 2024
The ICO has ruled that eight leisure operators have been unlawfully processing the biometric data of their employees to be ...
news • 23 Feb 2024
More consumers are realising meditation is beneficial, but many give up because it’s difficult to master the mind. The Muse ...
news • 21 Feb 2024
Newcomer to the market, Lunar Health Clubs, is gearing up to open its first high-end club this April, in Marlow ...
news • 19 Feb 2024
University of Washington researchers have created a wireless wearable in the form of a thermal earring that continuously monitors a ...
news • 16 Feb 2024
Zumba, and virtual reality workout platform, FitXR, have joined forces to offer mixed-reality versions of Zumba's dance routines. The partnership ...
news • 13 Feb 2024
Triathlon legends, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, have launched a free conversational AI tool to share their vast training knowledge with ...
news • 07 Feb 2024
According to McKinsey’s latest report, The trends defining the US$1.8 trillion global wellness market in 2024, the market for wellness ...
news • 24 Jan 2024
One of the most famous bodybuilders of all time – turned Hollywood actor – turned Californian governor – Arnold Schwarzenegger, ...
news • 23 Jan 2024
Egym has signalled its intention to become a major global player in the health club equipment space, signing up former ...
news • 19 Jan 2024
With pressure on medical services at an all time high, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is calling for ...
news • 17 Jan 2024
Sennheiser has teamed up with Polar Electro for the launch of its Momentum Sport earbuds which deliver Polar’s bio-sensing capabilities ...
news • 09 Jan 2024
The fitness industry is gearing up to engage with the medical profession according to the results of the American College ...
news • 05 Jan 2024
TikTok, has launched into the fitness market with a new hub called #TikTokFitness and a supporting consumer marketing push. The ...
news • 05 Jan 2024
Les Mills has released Les Mills XR Dance for the Meta Quest 3 headset. The release is the company's second ...
news • 20 Dec 2023
Equinox has appointed a Health Advisory Board of medical experts and academics to 'define new frontiers in the science of ...
news • 15 Dec 2023
Horizon Leisure is upgrading and investing in its new shopping-centre health hub – The Wellbeing Hub in Havant, UK – ...
news • 15 Dec 2023
Google has just released Gemini, a new multimodal AI which is being billed as a "ChatGPT Killer". Unlike ChatGPT, it ...
news • 06 Dec 2023
More fit tech news