After a year of the lockdowns that have come as part and parcel of the current Covid-19 pandemic, our lifestyles have changed in more ways than one, and from home working and schooling to socialising via Zoom and shopping solely online, there’s barely an element of our day-to-day that hasn’t been affected.
One of the most challenging issues has been the ongoing closure of gyms and fitness centres, which at a time when our health and wellness is more important than ever, has resulted in many people feeling left in the lurch.
An afternoon at your favourite health club – complete with pilates class then a soak in the jacuzzi – isn’t just beneficial for physical health, but your mental health, too – and with national stress and anxiety levels now higher than ever before, some have found it difficult to adjust to the new status quo.
But much like in every other area of our lives, we’ve found ways to pivot – and so, too, has the health and fitness industry. The number of us kitting out home gyms and participating in online fitness classes has risen sharply since the pandemic began, and from Zoom yoga to panic-buying a Peloton, almost everyone has dipped their toe into this new way of working out at home.
Trainers and fitness gurus have upped their game and taken their services online, and home fitness tech has become more immersive – with some predicting this could be a new era for fitness that lasts long beyond Covid-19. For some of us, choosing the right exercise equipment for our home gyms has become more important than ever as, despite our favourite facilities’ gradually reopening, we could soon find ourselves working out at home by choice.
The evolution of home fitness
In essence, home fitness classes are nothing new – and many of us no doubt watched our mums do the ‘legs, bums and tums’ videos of the 90s on their living room floors. But we’ve come a long way since the days of Mr Motivator, and those spandex-clad, sweat-band-wearing instructors sweating it out on VHS have been replaced with a flurry of fitness influencers on social media who are setting a new standard when it comes to looking good. These new role models are often normal people themselves, yet have made millions simply from showing off their bodies and have become celebrities in their own right – with many now putting their names to workout plans and endorsing the latest tech.
Today’s message seems that anyone can have the body they want – and abs are no longer reserved only for fitness instructors and pro athletes. Everywhere you look, there is a transformation photo with a caption proclaiming that you, too, can achieve the look you desire – whilst the sentiment is a good one, it has also led to impossibly high standards being set, with a detrimental impact on young people’s self-esteem. Being fit and looking good isn’t just respected – it’s now expected, and this shift has left many wondering if they can ever measure up.
The mainstream effect
Nonetheless, there have been some positives that have come with it, and over recent years we’ve seen gym memberships, fitness classes and a variety of online workouts become more accessible. Whichever way you look at it, fitness has gone mainstream, and in the foreseeable future, we could be a healthier nation than ever before.
Over the past few lockdowns, we’ve seen an increasing number of people take up home fitness programmes, with many opting to go all-out to install a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art home gym. Following the initial tendency towards good food and wine, people have been using the time to work on their physique and on their mental wellness, too. This will continue to be one of the fastest-growing fitness trends of 2021, and it will most likely carry on well beyond the pandemic.
Although gyms and in person fitness classes offer a social aspect that at-home workouts can’t, the long-term effects of social distancing could result in permanently elevated consciousness of the risks of germs and bacteria, resulting in a long-term desire for home workouts.