The Power of Fitness Data

Posted on January 17th, 2014 in Blog.

The ‘quantified self’ is more than just a phrase you hear among data junkies. As more people start to track and monitor their health and fitness, the role of human data is becoming powerful. We recently welcomed Fast Co. into our Austin, TX office for a conversation on where we think this industry is headed, and why people should care.

Innovation Agents | Map My Fitness from BFD Productions, LLC. on Vimeo.

[Originally sourced in Fast Co.] – MapMyFitness has stats any data-loving exercise junkie would envy. The GPS-based social fitness tracking app that allows users to map their routes, track their fitness, and log their meals, has roughly 20 million registered users, growing at a rate of around 200,000 users per week. And all of those users add up to a wealth of data that MapMyFitness believes could dramatically change the landscape of how we interact with our health.

“Human nature is to quantify. You wouldn’t run a business without accounting data. You wouldn’t run your household if you didn’t have a schedule. Knowing how fit you are is the first step to actually making an improvement, but you can’t really do any of that without data,” says Robin Thurston, cofounder and CEO of MapMyFitness.

While MapMyFitness currently provides ways to share your data across the network, they are looking for ways to make sharing that data with your doctor even easier. Thurston sees health-related data collection, or “the quantified self” becoming a standard in health care practices in the future, giving doctors more detailed analytics of their patients.

“You can’t really be prescriptive unless you have data. Doctors are essentially in my view running your business, your health business, without having the data to back it up.”

According to Thurston, MapMyFitness has the “largest physiological database in the world,” 30 terabytes of heart-rate data for hundreds of thousands of people. And it wants to enable its users to leverage that information to take better care of their health.

“You as an individual will have the ability in the future to authenticate and share that information,” says Thurston, “so the doctor has a much better picture of all the things that are happening in your life.”