Date of Award
Master of Industrial Design
It’s too cold outside. You stubbed your toe. You had too much Chipotle. You didn’t have enough Chipotle. There’s no shortage of reasons to abstain from exercise on any given day.
Designing a product or system to get someone to exercise is almost anti-design. So much of design is making things seamless and easy for whomever your user may be. You want to make it easy for people to accomplish things they want to do. But designing to get someone to exercise? You’re trying to get someone to do something unpleasant. You’re asking your user to sweat, strain, exert, and exhaust themselves. You might even be asking them to look inward and acknowledge a certain level of unhappiness. It’s no surprise that, despite wanting to have exercised, people don’t actually want to perform the task. This is why, when designing for any type of fitness experience, it is vital to get a firm understanding of all of the positives as well as the negatives. Why might someone want to go out and exercise?
Let’s look at connected fitness experiences. If you’re an avid runner, a cyclist, or some robot that gets a kick out of how many steps you take in a day, there is little doubt that you could benefit from the existing connected fitness experiences. You could set yourself a goal, give yourself some milestones, quantify some of the seemingly intangible aspects of your brand of fitness – all without the technology really getting in your way.
Now, what if you’re not an avid runner? What if you don’t like to exercise on a bike? What if you don’t like to exercise at all? What if your sweatpants are used for anything but sweating? There’s no use knowing your heart rate or your best quarter mile if you haven’t even made it out the door.
I’m here to challenge the role of connected fitness. Can a connected fitness experience help users beyond the point of regurgitating data? Can it motivate someone to get out of their comfort zone and into an active space? Body[less] Fitness is an exploration of a new motivator for fitness, particularly for the apprehensive, yet aspirant user. A connected fitness experience can yield more than quantitative data – it can connect us with others, expand our comfort zones, and help us take control of our fitness.
Gioia, Dan, "Body (less) fitness" (2017). Masters Theses. 127.
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