The Evolution of Home Fitness in the U.S during the Pandemic.
The Coronavirus pandemic created a huge disruption in our daily lives. Multiple preventive measures such as social distancing, lockdown, etc. are compelling people to adapt to a new lifestyle. Health and wellness sector continues to evolve amidst the ‘new normal. With the closure of gyms, fitness clubs, and wellness centers, people in the U.S are resorting to home fitness routines. Is this transition smooth? Can it provide the same experience and results as compared to gym sessions?
In this blog, let us explore the new trends in home fitness regimes in the U.S during the Covid-19 pandemic.
2. How the Pandemic Changed Fitness Routines in the United States?
The Covid-19 pandemic is continuing its deadly run on almost every region in the world. Being a disease spread through contact, lockdowns, and shutdown of business was inevitable. This has impacted the fitness industry also to a large extend. In 2020, the fitness industry revenues were down by 58% in comparison with the previous year. According to Statista, the United States has more than 40,000 fitness centers. Apart from this, there are numerous other fitness centers offering yoga and. But according to statistics, only a fraction of U.S citizens actively use these facilities.
A proper fitness routine is essential for maintaining good health. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical movements per day for an adult. Many people depend upon fitness centers for workouts as they offer the services of a trained instructor. Moreover, most people don’t want to invest money in buying expensive personal gym equipment. However, due to the lockdowns and social distancing norms, most fitness centers could not work properly during the pandemic. In certain states such as Washington, Californian, etc restrictions continued for almost a year. This has led to major changes in the fitness routines of people across the country.
3.The Emergence of Home Fitness Regimes.
Home-based fitness activities are not a new phenomenon. But, its popularity is increasing as avenues for gym workouts are shrinking due to Covid-19 restrictions. The fact that lifestyle diseases aggravate Covid-19 complications is prompting more people to take up fitness activities. Numerous studies suggest that a minimum amount of regular physical activity and breathing techniques can improve immunity. In the wake of gym shutdowns, a large chunk of the U.S population is following at least a basic home fitness regime. On the lines of ‘work from home, ‘workout from home’ is slowly becoming the new standard.
Some trends in the home fitness scenario are,
- In the U.S, nearly 40% of gym enthusiasts have completely moved to home fitness activities.
- Even with vaccination and gym reopening, a large section of people still wants to continue home-based fitness activities.
- The at-home fitness industry in the U.S is experiencing an unprecedented boom registering a sales growth of 170% in 2020.
- According to reports, around 59% of fitness enthusiasts are not planning to renew their gym membership post the pandemic in the United States.
Going by these trends, it is evident that the pandemic has a significant impact on shifting consumer preferences in the fitness industry. Also, the surge in a home fitness activity is not going to lose its momentum anytime soon. Let us track the various factors in the evolution of home fitness.
4.The Evolution of Home Fitness in the United States.
Even before the pandemic, a small section of the population was following a home fitness regime. After the emergence of Video Home Systems (VHS), guided home workout practice became very popular in the United States. Videotapes containing home workout sessions helped many to practice at the comfort of their homes. Most of these videos are guides for simple aerobics and beginner-level workouts. But without any direct supervision, these were not suitable for intense workouts and led to their eventual decline in the later years.
Today we are increasingly witnessing the emergence of remote operations in almost all aspects of health and well-being. Telehealth and virtual consultations are very common these days. Now, the home fitness regime is back due to the restrictions from the Covid-19 outbreak. Time and again, surveys show a 25% increase in at-home physical activity during the pandemic in the U.S. It is interesting to note that advancement in technology is paving the way for a revolution in the home fitness scenario. The prospects of real-time collaboration and smart fitness equipment are making home fitness routines easier than before. It reinforces the fact that moving forward, home fitness is going to play a significant role in the fitness industry. The exponential growth of the personal gym equipment industry also testifies this aspect.
5.Challenges in Carrying Out Home Fitness Activities.
It is a fact that constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic are the key factor that led to the popularity of home fitness activities. The restrictions on physical movement and social gatherings naturally paved the way for this. But, can it completely replace gyms and fitness clubs? It depends on your level of activity and numerous other factors. Even though a lot of people happily embraced at-home fitness routines, it has a set of challenges. The main barriers to home fitness activities are,
Absence of different gym equipment: Fitness centers create a conducive environment for all types of fitness enthusiasts. At affordable costs, they offer access to a gamut of fitness equipment. This helps in carrying out a wide range of workout styles for different parts of the body. During at-home fitness activities, you won’t have the access to many specialized types of equipment. Treadmills and similar equipment at home are insufficient for intense workouts. A proper home gym setup is costly and not affordable to many.
Lack of proper guidance: The services of a personal gym trainer arecrucial in your workout planning. With proper guidance on types of exercises, diet charts, etc, they play a major role in making your workout effective. A fitness studio provides you the services of an expert trainer. Workout activity without proper guidance can result in injury, especially during weight training. In 2019, nearly 450,000 sports-related injuries in the U.S were the result of exercise.
Lack of motivation: Consistency is the factor that determinesthe success of your workout. While doing at-home exercises, you can often run out of motivation without a trainer or peer group support. The physical presence of fellow gym mates acts as a motivational factor for sticking to the routine. In a way, the fitness center can become a space that prompts you to work out properly with like-minded individuals.
In short, a home fitness routine may not suit every individual. However, in today’s world, numerous technological innovations are making at-home workouts an immersive experience. Check out the factors that are enabling home fitness activities during the pandemic.
6.Factors that Enable Home Fitness Activities.
Technology is a major enabler that drives the growth of the home fitness sector. Innovative technologies are making home fitness equipment interactive and accessible. The emergence of fitness tech startups and their soaring valuations are proof of this. They are capturing a significant market share out of the US$ 15 billion wellness industry. These technologies are helping consumers to overcome the barriers to home fitness activities. It is going to fuel the growth of home-based exercises even after the removal of pandemic-related restrictions. The major tech enablers in the home fitness industry are,
Wearable devices: They help in tracking key health indicators and can sync with multiple devices. By 2022, the wearable devices market will grow to US$ 12.44 billion.
Mobile applications: Fitness freaks are rallying behind iOS and Android mobile applications that support multiple fitness activities. From workout videos to fitness tracking, they help in your daily workout activity.
Personal gym equipment: Nowadays, custom fitness equipment are available in the market. Portable and smart gym equipment offers multiple functionalities. Most of these gadgets are compact and require very little storage. This makes them suitable for home workouts.
Fitness gamification: Gamification in the fitness industry is made possible by combining virtual reality with fitness equipment. It creates a virtual environment and helps real-time networking with your peers while doing a workout at home.
7.Pandemic and the Fitness Equipment Industry.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a clear impact on the fitness industry. The fitness centers and gyms saw a decline in their revenues. But on the other hand, the fitness equipment industry is seeing significant growth in its revenues. With an increase in awareness regarding lifestyle diseases, a large section of the population is undertaking some physical activity now. Due to this, there is a visible growth in the demand for personal gym equipment. Even at the beginning of 2020, the home fitness equipment market saw a growth rate of 49%. It includes various equipment such as treadmills, cardio machines, and strength training gadgets. Together they form a US$ 5 billion market opportunity.
The segment is undergoing numerous technological innovations that provide a unique consumer experience. With the advent of smart equipment, there is seamless interconnectivity among multiple devices. This helps in instant feedback, live monitoring, and remote collaborations. In the wake of ongoing restrictions on social gatherings in the country, at-home fitness equipment will register exponential growth in the coming years. Analysts are expecting growth to the tune of a CAGR of 3% in the next five years.
8.Fitness Mobile Applications and Wearable Devices.
Apart from the fitness equipment industry, the pandemic period also saw the meteoric rise of fitness tech startups. This includes fitness mobile applications and wearable devices. They help fitness enthusiasts with real-time monitoring of their home workouts. Fitness mobile applications also promote online collaborations and custom workout training. In the absence of a gym trainer, these mobile applications provide virtual consultations with a personal trainer. People can track their progress and monitor key health parameters through these applications.
Among the mobile applications, there are both free and paid subscription models. They often help people in overcoming a lack of motivation by providing a peer workout model. Let us explore the market share of these segments.
- In 2020, at least 74% of the population in the U.S used at least a single mobile fitness application.
- By the end of 2019, the total valuation of mobile fitness application firms was around US$ 16.82 billion.
- The wearable segment expects total revenue of 3841 million US$ and user penetration of 13% in 2021.
9.Redefining Home Fitness Routines.
The popularity of home fitness has given rise to a variety of wellness activities. Now it is not restricted to regular cardio or strength training. Fitness enthusiasts are experimenting with multiple fitness techniques. This also emphasizes practices that promote holistic growth. As per the trends,
- Around 55 million U.S citizens actively practice some form of yoga.
- According to a study, approximately 40% in the U.S practice mediation at least once a week.
- In the U.S, Close to 3.76 million people incorporate tai chi in their workout routine.
The emergence of these alternative wellness practices helps in promoting the physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of an individual.
10.Benefits of Home Fitness Activity.
Consistent practice of at-home fitness activity is a challenging task. Working out alone can become a boring activity for many people. However, the emerging technological innovations are providing better options for carrying out home workout sessions. The practice of home fitness provides a multitude of benefits. They are,
- Adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols
- Saves money on a gym membership
- Helps in saving a lot of money
- Provides privacy
- Germ-free environments
- High level of flexibility
The Covid-19 pandemic is showing some early signs of decline. But a complete withdrawal is not yet visible in the short term. Anyhow, there is an increase in awareness and interest among people regarding workouts. This is a very positive sign. With ongoing restrictions on physical movement and mass gatherings, home fitness is expected to be the most feasible option. According to trends, even after vaccination and lifting of restrictions, most people prefer home fitness activity. The market trends regarding at-home fitness equipment and wellness mobile application also justify this.