Nirvana or Nonsense: The future of fitness

By Lou Earle – April 9, 2013

I am an avid sci-fi guy, so when my editor suggested writing about the future of fitness, I figured this was my chance to join Heinlein and Bradbury. I wish!!! As I pondered this opportunity, I realized that fitness is like a Rubik’s Cube. Think about it. Physical activity, nutrition, motivation, measurement, competition, access, environment, genetics, technology and cultural attitude are only a few of the dimensions that will define our state of fitness as we rush into the 22nd century. So here goes:

Cultural Attitude
I don’t believe we’ll see a big change in motivators but rather in our prioritization of them. Raw economics and the instinct to survive will drive behavior toward total health and the desire for wellbeing and longevity across all ages. The norm will become health and this concept becomes ingrained as the accepted way to live.

Physical Activity
As society becomes healthy, simple and convenient approaches to maintaining fitness will become the popular approach. Daily fitness will be based on the body as the instrument for generating all forms of exercise. Competitive athletes and elite performers, on the other hand, will use highly specialized equipment with significant technology to optimize performance. Personal training and fitness programs will continue to be popular, though becoming more localized, focusing on convenience and group delivery.

The entire food supply will evolve into generating healthy products. Food engineering shifts to maintaining natural food content and eliminating any contamination that could result in negative biological impacts Processed foods as we know them will disappear as demand grows for natural, safe, and organic foods. Home and local food production will gain in popularity, with new technologies and industries sprouting up as support.

The digital revolution continues to change the paradigm of fitness, especially in the provision of immediate and accurate feedback. Cloud computing will allow sharing fitness profiles across multiple digital platforms in real time. Devices that measure most bodily functions, nutritional intake, and physical exertion will yield precise (and predictive) data about fitness and health conditions, even forecasting risks and prescribing remediation. Data standards will be established with appropriate security for sharing medical data as well as daily personal digital input throughout one’s lifetime, making medical interventions more precise and responsive. Technology will provide critical visibility into real-time health that will establish prevention as the most effective methodology for individual and societal wellbeing.

Green living will expand into pure living. Every aspect of one’s external exposure will be scrutinized for its purity and benefit to all species on the planet. Our intricate ecosystem will be understood, respected, and nurtured so that all can optimize their existence, which will be significantly enhanced and elongated by their lifestyles and behaviors.

So there you have my crystal ball into the future of fitness. I wish I could say it’s really “out there,” but a great deal of this is already happening. Of course you never know what the future will bring, but one thing is for sure: A Bradbury I’m not.

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