telehealth and fitness

Is Telehealth the Future of Fitness?

Once, the pinnacle of fitness used to mean going to the gym after work or jogging for ten minutes every morning before class. Today, however, the scope of fitness is unlimited!

From the creation of fitness wearables — mini devices that we can wear on our wrists to measure our bodily functions — to smart fitness equipment where machines analyze our workouts in real time, many new technologies have transformed how we stay fit.

During the Covid-19 time, fitness often meant turning on your laptop and entering a Zoom call. Many gyms including Blink Fitness and Orangetheory moved online to help clients maintain their fitness goals.

Thanks to technology, working up a sweat and staying healthy while stuck at home was difficult but not impossible.

The power of the screen in connecting human beings is limitless. With that, how will telehealth, one of technology’s latest innovations, manifest in fitness? Keep reading to know more.

How the Internet Influenced Fitness

One of the earliest signs that fitness can transform into a borderless activity is the creation of exercise blogs and videos on the internet. Many can still remember when Cassey Ho, founder of the Blogilates community, created her first workout video on YouTube back in 2009.

What was once meant for only 40 of her students grew into a now-powerful channel with a global audience.

Back then, not many had the technological resources to share their fitness knowledge on the internet. However, as we’ve discussed previously, anyone can start a fitness YouTube channel in less than ten simple steps. Fitness is, therefore, no longer being gatekept at gyms for hardcore enthusiasts but is an activity for all age groups at different energy levels.

Applications of Telehealth for Fitness

The use of platforms like Zoom by gyms across the world was key to realizing the potential of telehealth in the fitness industry. Instead of limiting users to watching, telehealth allows users to interact!

This development was especially crucial in the healthcare sector. Here, the patient’s input is just as valuable as the provider’s. Wheel notes that telehealth services can remove obstacles during the patient journey. These obstacles include time, resources, or physical ability to attend appointments in person, and can also benefit providers who can mitigate burnout with flexibility.

Telehealth means that medical professionals are also accessible through virtual consultations for fitness. The adoption of telehealth in fitness and wellness led to programs such as TeleSEM under the Covid-19 pandemic. Here, coaches and clinicians were able to monitor the health of athletes and prevent injury during the lockdown. Even if athletes weren’t able to physically meet up, they were still able to maintain and finetune their physical conditions.

The agile response of medical professionals through virtual consultations was seen as a critical contribution to athletic success. Many fitness applications are now incorporating virtual consultations into their platforms so that fitness enthusiasts can consult with trainers from anywhere and anytime.

Future Developments?

Besides improving fitness for leisure or career, fitness for health is a key discourse within telehealth. Inactivity is common among patients with spinal cord injuries or chronic diseases.

However, research published in Trials notes that telehealth is showing feasible and effective results for promoting exercise to avoid further complications.

By increasing the accessibility to fitness and medical consultations, patients can safely increase their physical capabilities, aerobic capacity, muscle mass, and strength. Telehealth is further paired with other technological innovations like wearables so that physicians and trainers can objectively monitor the progress.

Telehealth exercise interventions will soon incorporate aspects like virtual reality or artificial intelligence. This will continue to break down the barriers to accessibility for fitness, opening doors for healthier future generations.

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