Along with many other businesses, gyms and fitness clubs across the globe were forced to close amid the Covid-19 pandemic. As the lockdown continued and people were urged to maintain social distancing, people started moving outdoors for their workouts.
The increasing number of outdoor workouts like cycling and running spiked the demand for wearables. By tracking heart rates and sleep schedules, wearables allow users to create evolving fitness regimens without the need to go inside a gym, reports ProspectSConsultation.
In October 2020, Boston-based digital fitness startup Whoop has announced a $100 million Series E investment that spiked the valuation of the company at $1.2 billion, making it a business unicorn. Other wearable device manufacturers also saw their sales double during the pandemic.
Now, with the increase in vaccinations, gyms are slowly reopening. But it raises new questions like ‘Will the fitness lovers who built up outdoor workout habits return to gyms? Or ‘Will companies start offering wearables’ subscriptions as perks, the same way they offered gym memberships in the past?
While studying a group of Navy SEALs, the Whoop team discovered the users were just as competitive about who could get a better night’s sleep as they were about who could train the hardest.
“Meditation is one way to really dial in your sleep.” Whoop founder Will Ahmed points out that meditation is “virtually good for everything,” especially sleep and heart rate variability.
The popularity of wearables isn’t only due to the fact that they can measure your heart rate and other health metrics; wearables have shown to be effective in detecting Covid-19 early.
Pro golfer Nick Watney was the first player on the PGA Tour to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Nick said that on the morning of the second round of the RBC Heritage tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina, he checked his Whoop data to find that his respiratory rate had suddenly spiked to over 18.
However, Watney was tested negative for COVID-19 three days earlier and was cleared to play. Based on WHOOP data, he requested to be tested again. The new test result showed him to be positive of carrying the coronavirus. Later that day, he withdrew from the tournament.
“You can’t really fool [WHOOP]. If my kids had a rough night and I slept 4.5 hours, I don’t get a lot of green recoveries when that happens. There haven’t been many days when it gives me 90 [percent recovery] and I feel rundown. It’s like an all-telling thing in certain ways. It’s tough to fool this little thing,” Nick said on the Whoop podcast.
WHOOP has been named “Official Fitness Wearable of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions” and a “Sponsor of PGA TOUR Active.”
Over 1,000 WHOOP Straps were distributed for players, caddies, and other essential personnel at PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour, and PGA TOUR Champions events, with accompanying membership for health monitoring.
“I’ve been a WHOOP member for a number of years and having the ability to monitor my recovery on a daily basis is helpful for my overall performance. WHOOP has been everywhere on TOUR in 2020 and this new partnership will unlock the future of athletic performance and professional golf,” said Rory McIlroy, WHOOP Investor, and PGA TOUR member. “And now fans will have access to player data that will change the way they experience and engage with the game.”