Flat World’s New Workout Plan

Let’s Talk Fitness.

Following a team bonding session at SoulCycle, we’ve devoted this week’s newsletter to fitness — both a great bonding activity and a high-impact investment sector. Through a commitment to a weekly work-out routine, one can achieve an estimated 50% reduction in chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer risk. These benefits are particularly impactful in lower income communities, where lower access to gyms and healthy food choices have contributed to the connection between poverty and obesity. There are a variety of organizations working to address this disparity, for example affordable gyms like Blink or Planet Fitness, or even city-specific recreation centers like the NYC Park Department’s gyms located in underserved areas like the South Bronx and North Harlem. However, the primary limiting factor for these organizations is their limited geographic scale. Combine all this with the fact that almost 75% of all US healthcare spending (or about $5,300/year per person) is directed toward chronic diseases, and you can see that the impact potential of fitness-based investing is enormous.

Alex Thinath, Summer Investments Associate

On Monday, Apple unveiled its latest version of the Apple Watch, with a specific focus on enhanced fitness tracking features — no doubt in a bid to compete more directly with fitness wearables like Fitbit or Jawbone.
 
Curious if these devices are actually able to deliver population-level improvements in healthcare? Statnews recently put together a great overview of some ongoing clinical trials and analyses of their effectiveness (e.g. there are currently 21 studies exploring Fitbit alone). In short — the jury is still out.

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What better or more intuitive way to check progress towards your diet or fitness goals than simply looking in the mirror? An interesting start-up called Naked is offering a 3D body-scanning mirror that can help better define your progress and provides insights into metrics like body fat percentage without having to visit the doctor’s office.

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While the team here at Flat World Partners had a great group work-out at SoulCycle last week, we’re intrigued by the work of our friends at the rowing-based work-out studio, City Row. City Row merges interval training and classic rowing exercises in hip classroom sessions and offers a much-welcomed alternative to the countless cycling and yoga programs we’ve seen.

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