I am not able to find many positive aspects of the pandemic, but I will say that it did usher in some welcome changes to our way of life. As an example, we’ve learned how to use Zoom effectively. This means fewer in-person meetings and more that we can attend while wearing yoga pants. As our homes morphed into workplaces, learning environments, and production facilities, we adapted to using them in a wider variety of ways.
The popularity of home gyms has also increased, which is a positive development for health. Since health clubs began rolling up their yoga mats, gym-germ phobia has altered our exercise routines and inspired dedicated exercisers to set up their own gyms at home or upgrade the ones they already had.
According to market research firm NPD Group, home fitness equipment sales in the United States increased by 84% in 2020. If producers had been able to keep up with demand, expansion would have been even more rapid. Although it has been nearly three years since the trend began, analysts do not expect it to abate anytime soon.
Do not misunderstand me; I am not claiming that the pandemic caused a sudden surge in interest in physical activity and healthy eating across the country. Those who did not already have an established fitness routine could use the pandemic as an excuse to avoid working on improving their physique. However, home workouts provided a healthier alternative for those who occasionally felt the need to do something more productive with their free time than watch “Friends” reruns and snack on potato chips.
And what do you know? People warmed to their dwellings after they had been furnished.
Matt Berenc, the head of training and technology at FORME, a home fitness company that provides smart training and fitness services, has observed that while the pandemic may have inspired many fitness enthusiasts to set up elaborate workout spaces at home, rapid advancements in fitness technology are now keeping them there.
That’s right; the popularity of at-home fitness centres isn’t going anywhere.
Florida resident Carol Zurcher of Winter Park is not one of those who has changed their minds. Zurcher used to work out twice weekly before the pandemic, when she had access to her small home gym. She also swam twice a week at her club and practised barre or aerial yoga three times a week.
Since she was unable to attend her regular barre or aerial yoga classes due to the quarantine, she decided to step up her workout routine at home. She expanded it and got rid of her old treadmill in favour of a high-tech NordicTrack with iFit software.
“That’s unfathomable. It’s a trip around the world,” Zurcher gushed. After completing my hike through Vietnam, I can honestly say that I experienced being in Vietnam.
A large support beam was uncovered during the gym’s renovation, and she promptly hung an aerial yoga hammock from it.
She now works out at home five days a week, swimming twice a week and doing everything from aerial yoga to virtual travel on her treadmill.
“I don’t think I’ll ever go to an outdoor gym again,” she said.
Truthfully, it is thanks to technological advancements that it is possible to exercise at home. Berenc cites the following examples of how technological advances have transformed the once-dreary task of working out at home into something more enjoyable:
Apps for everyone! Whether you’re into pilates, weightlifting, yoga, boxing, cycling, or any other form of exercise, you can find an app that will play a workout programme on your mobile device or television, giving you access to professional home workouts from the comfort of your own couch.
The programmes, like those found on sites like Peloton and iFit, are usually so well-liked because of the world-class trainers who are also fun to hang out with, the ability to work out on any continent, and the freedom to work out whenever and wherever one pleases.
• Individual attention is given in each class. Modern technology allows you to work out with people from all over the world, no matter where they happen to be located. You can also customise your workout experience by choosing the instructor, the length of your session, and the type of setting (beach, rain forest, mountain, etc.). In-home personal trainers are available on-demand from services like FORME and Lululemon Mirror for those who want to go beyond working out with fit personalities and get more feedback. If you have a membership to a fitness app, you can meet with a trainer virtually once a week and receive a customised workout plan to follow for the rest of the week.
Digitally connecting people working out at home with a trainer in real time via their devices “has really rocked the home-fitness movement forward,” Berenc said.
• Remote instructors. Smart mirrors equipped with cameras can also be used for instruction. You do your workout in front of the mirror, and the camera observes your form to provide feedback. According to Berenc, “the camera has built-in software that looks for anatomical landmarkers on your body as you exercise, so it can let members know if they’re moving the right way, or not.” The AI will tell you to slow down if you’re moving too slowly or speed up if you’re moving too quickly.
To hide out, go somewhere safe. For many people, including Zurcher, working out at home is feasible because of the built-in videos that allow you to work out while taking virtual adventures.