Covid-19 affected just about every single aspect of the world. No job, hobby, or lifestyle was left untouched, but one of the most affected parts of our lives was our fitness. Being cooped up at home was terrible for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Today we’ll be taking a look at some of the effects it had on us at the time, as well as how the fitness landscape has changed in a post-pandemic world.
The Impact on our Health
If you put on a couple of pounds during Covid then don’t worry, you’re not alone. 48% of people gained weight during lockdown , not only due to a sudden lack of exercise, but also because our diets took a hit. The stress made us snack more, and fresh produce became harder to get hold of, which meant more people were ordering food in more often than normal.
A lack of physical exercise can also lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, which almost 4 out of 10 people said they experienced during lockdown .
Unfortunately, staying physically active was made harder to do when governments around the world made all fitness facilities close their doors, cutting us off from our most common ways of exercising.
No More Gyms
All gyms and leisure facilities were closed for months, and in-person activities like organised runs and dance classes were cancelled. In fact, 22% of gyms in the US didn’t survive the pandemic and had to permanently shut down .
Since the time we had outdoors and the distance we could travel was also restricted, other fitness related activities like hiking were also off the table, with most people only being allowed to leave the house for short dog walks.
Fitness enthusiasts could no longer go to their usual gyms and events, and as most people had relied on gym memberships for access to their weights and machines, demand for home gym equipment increased by an unprecedented 5813% during lockdown !
But the sudden rush of demand for home fitness equipment meant retailers ran out of stock almost immediately after people began to suspect that lockdown was on the way, and the impact of Covid on logistics networks meant manufacturers couldn’t keep up with demand.
Everywhere was completely sold out, with the most popular items like benches and adjustable dumbbells being next to impossible to get your hands on. Cardio machines also proved extremely popular, with treadmill sales increasing 135% and sales of stationary bikes almost tripling .
As a result, people turned to the second-hand market, but prices there had skyrocketed alongside the surge in demand. Owners knew that new equipment was scarce, so the prices of things like weight plates and barbells increased dramatically.
Fitness equipment companies, like Mirafit, were in a strong position to supply home Gym users.
How Covid Helped Revolutionise Fitness
It wasn’t all bad though, restrictions on access to our normal methods of working out introduced the rise of new online ways to stay in shape.
Fitness studios and personal trainers that used to be in-person only started to offer online classes, and follow-along YouTube videos for yoga, calisthenics, and home weightlifting exploded in popularity.
But after gyms reopened, owners didn’t see their previous members return like they had hoped. While 50% of gym-goers did head back to the gym after restrictions lifted , almost one third of them decided to work out elsewhere instead.
The massive surge in home strength training equipment sales meant that many of them now had ways to work out at home, with 75% of people who bought equipment saying that they intended to continue exercising at home after the pandemic ended .
Deciding to forego the gym entirely in favour of purely working out at home may not be the best idea, though. While the ability to lift from the comfort of your own home is undeniably great, many people don’t have room for specialist equipment such as leg press machines.
A hybrid approach may be the best option, with cardio and weightlifting done at home and a wide variety of exercise machines being used at gyms.
The benefits of returning to group exercise can’t be overlooked either, you’re far more likely to stick with it if you have other people working alongside you. One study showed that 95% of people who participate in weight loss programs with others will complete the program, and 66% of them kept the weight off even after finishing .
The Future of Fitness
Now that the pandemic is behind us, there has never been a better time to get into fitness.
Home gym equipment is now easily available again with even more options than ever before, there is a whole new wealth of health and fitness related content on the internet, and most of those fitness studios and personal trainers who moved online during lockdown have found a new home there, giving you plenty of options to choose from.
Whether you want to get into strength training, running, calisthenics, bodybuilding, or any of the hundreds of ways to get (and stay!) fit, there’s guaranteed to be plenty of equipment and information to get you started on your fitness journey.