COVID-19Lifestyle

The Future of Fitness

Now, more than ever, the importance and benefits of physical activity are paramount. Not only does physical activity serve as a mental break from the rest of our day, but it can also provide a change of scenery from, you know… the couch. Many of us have transitioned our gym routines into home workouts. We’re all trying to stay active and getting creative with our workout routines, using gallons of water as makeshift dumbbells, coolers as weight benches, and duffle bags stuffed with books as weighted sandbags.

Through virtual methods, fitness instructors are bringing the gym to our homes, and the new gym ‘normal’ means watching our favorite classes through phones or computers.

At-home workouts are not new. Jane Fonda ushered in an era of at-home, low impact aerobics workouts, and shortly after, muscled hosts Billy Blanks and Tony Horton introduced high-intensity aerobic and strength training workouts, all from the comfort of your very own home. The benefits of working out at home are obvious: flexible workout times, no need to pay for childcare expenses, or travel to and from the gym. But many gym-goers crave the routine of going to a gym, the accountability of a gym buddy, and most likely, a more well-stocked gym set-up, sans water jugs. As part of our content on what life looks like as we recover from the coronavirus quarantine, some of us are wondering: Will coronavirus reinvent the fitness industry?

Virtual Programming

Even during this time of social distancing when many gyms have been forced to shutter their doors, we can still catch our favorite fitness instructors through virtual methods. Nearly every gym has offered, or is currently offering, an online workout through Zoom, YouTube, Instagram Live, or other streaming platforms. Peloton, the high-end bicycle and treadmill powerhouse, extended their trial period to 90 days, catering to their remote clientele. Many workout apps have modified home workouts to help their consumers get the most of their workout. The virtual programming has an upside; a broader reach and the convenience of fitting in a workout whenever it is convenient. 

Wider Reach

The sheer scope of the audience is another aspect to consider when thinking of the fitness future. A group fitness class that was previously capped at 25-30 people, due to space and equipment, is suddenly able to open it up to a much broader and larger audience. No equipment? No problem. Instructors are offering alternative movements for those viewers who may not have a devoted home-gym, suggesting bodyweight movements, or modifications with lighter or heavier weights. The virtual reach is doubled, tripled, quadrupled, and participants feel the same sense of camaraderie knowing their workout buddies are right there “with” them. 

A Win for the Gym

We’re the first to admit, working out at home for many is nice, in theory, for some people. Some of us prefer the gym schedule, the physical distance from our kids, the accountability of knowing we’ve signed up for a class, or someone is waiting for us. It’s nice to have a (hopefully) qualified professional correct our form, or motivate us to finish the set. And then there’s the whole, actually “have proper gym equipment” that is hard to compete with.

It’s no doubt that coronavirus will leave lasting impacts on how we go about our new “normal”. As with nearly all aspects of our lives, the next few months (or longer) will be a transition period as people begin to feel more comfortable venturing outside their bubble to get a work out in. Some gyms have re-opened their doors, limiting class size, touting enhanced cleaning measures, and encouraging patrons to practice responsible social distancing once inside. Many of those same gyms are still offering virtual classes for gym members who aren’t able, or aren’t comfortable, making it back to the gym yet. Perhaps this catered approach is a glimpse into the fitness future, less of “one size fits all approach” and more of a personal preference, an opportunity to have the best of both worlds. 

Have you enjoyed working out at home, or are you eager to get back to a physical gym? Let us know in the comments below!

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Courtney Daybell

Courtney Daybell is a wife and has three kids, three years old and under. After a hiatus, she is excited to be writing again, and enjoys sharing some of Salt Lake’s finer things with 24SLC readers. She enjoys Diet Coke, true crime podcasts and is on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

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