People’s exercise habits have changed dramatically in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, and fitness equipment manufacturers are paying attention.
“This crisis is a turning point,” Simon Wang, executive vice president of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), said in his introductory comments during a council-sponsored Smart Fitness Online Product Launch on April 28. “People have been paying more attention to their health since the outbreak.”
As a result, demand for fitness equipment that can help more people commit to an exercise routine is higher than ever. To that end, several fitness company manufacturers that make products in Taiwan stepped up to develop equipment and gear that meet the needs of a changing global marketplace. Taiwan exports more than $1 billion worth of fitness equipment every year, which accounts for a 10 percent global market share.
The Smart Fitness Online Product Launch appeared on YouTube and featured five fitness companies recently honored with the Taiwan Excellence Awards for offering “innovative value” with products “made in Taiwan.” They included the following manufacturers:
The lively presentation included product demonstrations and interviews. What follows is a brief rundown of the products each company showcased:
Johnson Health Tech, Inc.
As one of the largest and fastest-growing fitness equipment manufacturers in the world, Johnson Health Tech kicked off the product launch with Ben Wilde, the company’s global director of training education. He shared details about two new Matrix products, plus a digital ecosystem designed for facility operators to help users get more from their workouts.
The Matrix Fitness Performance Plus Treadmill boasts a shock-absorbing slat-belt and high-efficiency drive that Wilde said enhances comfort even during difficult runs. It’s also durable, lasting for more than 100,000 miles of usage with minimal maintenance, he said.
The Matrix Fitness Performance Ascent Trainer, meanwhile, offers a full-body, low-impact workout and is built to withstand heavy use. A patented suspension design, variable stride length and refined ergonomics keep workouts quiet and smooth, and an adjustable incline is intended to target and tone different muscles.
At Matrix, the approach to technology is centered around a robust, open platform. More than a collection or hardware, software and connectivity options, Connected Solutions is a digital ecosystem, Wilde said — enhancing the way club owners manage their facility, retain and engage their members and promote their brand. For example, their digital solution Personal Trainer Portal helps trainers engage with members and helps them tap unexplored revenue streams.
“In the COVID-19 era, it’s more important than ever before that we as an industry can actually help to make a difference,” Wilde said, noting that new exercisers who are able to dissociate from the feeling of exercise report lower perceived exertion, more enjoyment and improvements in mood. “Those three factors can really help new exercisers commit and stick to their exercise habits. We’re providing real choice and variety [to] help you and your members achieve their goals.”
Makalot Industrial Co. Ltd.
As a leader in Taiwan’s apparel industry, Makalot Industrial Co. serves as a strategic partner with major retailers in the United States, Europe, Japan, China and Taiwan. U.S. clients include Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Gap Inc. and Champion.
The company has emerged as a smart apparel innovator, combining hardware technology with textile fabrics to develop garments with unobtrusive devices that monitor heart rate, muscle output and more. The goal, company officials said, is to “draw a close connection between precise technology and daily life in high comfort.”
“It’s a huge challenge to ensure the integration [of] technology to the inside of apparel,” said Evan Sheu, who works in Makalot’s product development department.
Strength Master Fitness Tech Co. Ltd.
Strength Master Fitness Tech ranks among the top fitness equipment manufacturers in Taiwan, with global distribution that includes a U.S. channel established in 2009, according to Peter Gillespie, manager of the company’s research and development department.
Strength Master products include the new TM7050 Electric Treadmill and standing desks that are compatible with the company’s equipment. The TM7050 comes in models with two different running surface sizes, as well as 3.5-horsepower and 2.5-horsepower motors. The unit is equipped with a 10-inch, full-color touchscreen display and Bluetooth speaker, and the Intelli-Step feature acts as a built-in pedometer.
Strength Master treadmills and stationary bikes can be used with the company’s standing desk solutions to help employees “stay loose throughout the workday,” Gillespie said. Accessories keep track of steps, distance, time, calories burned and average speed, and an app allows users to monitor their fitness goals.
Gee Hoo Industrial Corp.
Another leading fitness equipment manufacturer in Taiwan, Gee Hoo Industrial focuses on fitness and rehabilitation equipment for hospitals, senior living centers and similar facilities.
Among the company’s newest products is the GB7007 Linear Recumbent Stepper. It provides total-body workouts, as well as lower-body and upper-body exercise. The machine’s safety recommendations are based on a given user’s physiological assessment, and it will automatically adjust resistance as needed — and even suspend activation upon attempted login by users who have not been physically cleared to use it, according to James Hsu, manager of Gee Hoo’s international business department.
An easy-to-use interface allows for internet, streaming and social media access; game programs are intended to improve exercise effectiveness and motivation; and a 180-degree swivel seat with reclining and position adjustments helps ensure user comfort.
An innovator in smart healthcare and smart exercise, Netown Corp. focused its segment of the product launch on home-based equipment. Project manager Patricia Lin introduced viewers to the Babybot Smart Precise-Exercise Device for Home.
The all-in-one recumbent machine integrates measurement and exercise into a single device. Users have access to a variety of features, including an always-available virtual personal trainer for home workouts, and a personalized exercise program generated by Netown’s AI technology that automatically adapts to a user’s workout regimen over time.
At the end of the presentation, launch event host Raymond Lu provided details about the Taiwan Global Anti-COVID-19 Pavilion, a website designed to share insights about the country’s experience with combatting the virus.
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