Senior citizens are advised to exercise a few times a week to stay active and potentially prevent illnesses. One way to do that will be with fitness apps and technology geared for older Americans.
Older Americans have always used technology for their health and well-being, said Ethan Agarwal, founder and chief executive office of audio fitness app Aaptiv, but the future will belong to smartphone apps and smartwatches, instead of simply heart rate monitors and glucose machines. Already, 40% of seniors own smartphones, more than twice as many as seniors in 2013, according to the Pew Research Center. There are about 47 million Americans 65 and older in the U.S., but that number is expected to more than double by 2060, according to the Census Bureau. Though people are living longer on average, it doesn’t mean they’re living healthier.
Technology can help change that. Apps already exist to assist senior citizens to become more physically active. One Apple-based app is “Tai Chi for Seniors” ($3.99) though others promote a healthy lifestyle for the elderly, such as My Fitness Pal, which tracks exercise, and Pocket Yoga, a helpful method of exercising to sustain flexibility and mobility. It’s a lucrative market for investors and fitness technology creators, especially as baby boomers and Generation X age.
Wearable fitness devices will be especially useful for seniors for fitness and overall health monitoring. GreatCall, a health technology company for seniors that offers easy-to-use phones and other devices, has a “lively wearable” that allows seniors to stay connected to family and friends in the event of an emergency but also lets them create fun fitness goals and challenges. CarePredict is another wearable, created by caregivers, to monitor and detect any changes in daily living activities. Other popular fitness trackers and wearables include Garmin
Why is it important for seniors, especially older ones, to exercise? Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, moderate exercise (such as for 45 minutes three times a week) decreases the amount of time it takes a wound to heal by 25%, can prevent or delay diseases such as heart disease or cancer, increases balance and stability — which decreases the chance of falling, a potentially fatal occurrence for older Americans — and improves life expectancy, giving them a chance to spend more time with their loved ones, according to American Senior Communities.