At the turn of the year we are seeing some indicators that the COVID crisis might be ebbing. Many states that have had rather draconian measures in place have reversed course and are now talking about opening indoor dining and this heralds probable relaxing of the restrictions placed on gyms and fitness clubs.
The Fitness Industry came back strong in the last few months of 2020 by moving online with ZOOM and other live-stream programs—helping their clients to discover that for busy mid-life folks on the go with kids and jobs and a regular hectic daily schedule, being able to do a fitness program at home was perhaps preferable to adding another travel/appointment to an already busy schedule. And interestingly enough, that trend is not going to go away.
1.Streaming services that deliver workouts to any screen connected to the Internet have become extremely popular and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
The variety of workouts combined with the chat features that allow participants to engage with the instructors and each other really does create the studio experience from the comfort of home. Because you can see everyone in the stream and conversations can be enabled among participants and the coach, the streaming workout actually creates a sense of community even while you are working out alone at home. So look for more and better streaming services that will be user friendly, professional, and community enhancing. It’s all up from here.
2. Look for more and more Group Fitness Classes to hit the great outdoors.
In the face of stringent indoor restrictions, many warm-weather and even some northern clubs have moved their workouts outdoors and when you think about it, where better to exercise? Recent studies show that 70% to 90% of those who contract COVID-19 have a marked Vitamin D deficiency. So what better place to get a dose of the best natural Vitamin D than out in the sunlight? Many people are also rediscovering the benefits of accessible activities such as walking and are making use of outdoor recreation spaces like parks and hiking trails. In addition, activities such as cycling, roller-skating, and inline skating are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Outdoor classes that include the whole family have become a popular option at many clubs. It will be an interesting development if this crisis actually gets kids and adults off their couches and their devices and gives them a renewed love for outdoor activities.
3. In response to business closures and draconian restrictions, many consumers have been buying up all available fitness equipment for their garage gyms
Fitness equipment sales have gone through the roof as people convert their garages into home workout studios. But this will create an opportunity for those Personal Training professionals who specialize in at-home workouts. Instead of the ice cream truck in your neighborhood start looking for “THE PT GUY” truck.
4. Due to the reported negative link between obesity and COVID-19 many individuals have started exercising for the purpose of improving their health.
According to the CDC, 92% of COVID deaths have two or more co-morbidities. These include diabetes, pneumonia, heart disease, a compromised immune system and in particular, morbid obesity. According to a study that took place in the UK, the pandemic may be initiating a new interest in physical activity and exercise among older adults who are at greater risk of complications from the virus. It’s well established that regular exercise combined with other healthy lifestyle habits can reduce weight and strengthen the immune system. This will create new opportunities for you as a health and exercise professional to design programs tailored to help older clients reduce risk factors and improve overall health.
5. In 2021 social media will continue to be one of the main ways that many individuals search for and consume fitness information.
As more consumers enter the fitness market, many people are looking to Social Media for guidance. And recently the Internet has seen the birth of many more platforms so the big three aren’t the only sources they are turning to. So as professionals in the industry, you need to be sure and leverage your social media presence. That might mean talking to or paying a consultant to get really tuned up, but since that is the way the industry is moving, it might be a justified expense.