While I can’t say many nice things about the pandemic, I will admit that it has led to very few improvements to the way we live. We’ve perfected Zoom, for example. Now we can go to fewer meetings in person and more through yoga pants. We’ve learned to use our homes in new flexible ways as they become offices, classrooms, workshops and 24-hour dining tables.
But perhaps the healthiest development is the advent of the home gym. As health clubs pile up their yoga mats, fear of germs has changed our fitness routines—assuming we have a fitness routine—and led committed exercisers to create workout spaces at home or improve theirs.
Sales of home fitness equipment in the United States jumped 84% in 2020, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm. It would have grown more if suppliers could keep up with demand. Analysts say that after nearly three years, the trend shows no sign of slowing.
Healthier at home
Now, I’m not suggesting that the pandemic has contributed to a nationwide health and fitness boost. On the contrary, many Americans have contracted COVID-19. For those who didn’t have a fitness routine, COVID was the perfect excuse to skip the gym. However, for those who felt the need to do something better with their time once in a while than binge-watch episodes of “Friends” and eat potato chips, home workouts offer a healthier alternative.
And guess what? Once people outfitted their spaces, they loved it. “While the pandemic has prompted many fitness enthusiasts to create full-fledged workout spaces at home, rapid advances in fitness technology now keep them there,” said Matt Berink, president of training and technology at FORME, a home fitness company that offers smart workouts. and fitness services.
In other words, home gyms are not only on the rise, but they are here to stay as well.
travel at home
Carol Zurcher, of Winter Park, Florida, is among those who don’t turn back. Before the pandemic, Carol had a small home gym, which she used twice a week. She also swam at her club two days a week and took a barre or aerial yoga class three days. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel tired and incompetent. Yes, she works full time.
When quarantine prevented her from going to her barre studio or aerial yoga class, she decided to improve her home gym. She reshaped it to make it bigger and replaced her low-tech treadmill with an iFit-enabled NordicTrack. “It’s unbelievable. It takes you all over the world,” she said. “I just finished hiking through Vietnam and felt like I was really there.”
When workers, while remodeling the gym, discovered a large support beam, they used it to suspend an aerial yoga hammock. Of course I did.
Now, she swims twice a week, and works out five days a week at home either visiting foreign countries on her treadmill, or streaming aerial yoga classes online. “I don’t think I’ll ever go to an outdoor gym again,” she said.
New technology is really what makes working out from home. Here, according to Behrink, are some of the ways digital solutions have made exercising at home, which was once a boring chore, more fun:
Apps for everyone: You name exercise – pilates, weightlifting, yoga, boxing, cycling – and you can find an app that plays an exercise program on your mobile device or TV, putting professional home workouts at your fingertips. What often makes programs, such as those available through platforms like Peloton and iFit, so popular are the world-class trainers that are also fun, the option to work out on any continent, plus the ability to go anywhere you want when you want on your own.
Get classes in person: Today’s technology allows you to take lessons with your friends across the country or the world, connect to the instructor, the duration of the workout, and the environment (beach, rainforest, mountain) you crave. For those who want to go beyond working out with fit figures and getting more feedback, companies like FORME and Lululemon Mirror can send personal trainers to your home upon request.
Through the member app, users can meet with a coach online once a week, and then that coach can send a personal program to guide them through more sessions that week. “The ability to digitally connect those who exercise at home with a live trainer through their device has really moved the home fitness movement forward,” said Berink.
Coaches over the phone: Smart mirrors with built-in cameras can also provide training. You practice in front of a mirror, watching the camera to make feedback on your form. “The camera has built-in software that looks for anatomical landmarks on your body during exercise, so it can tell the members if they’re moving the right way or not,” Berink explained. The AI prompts you to adjust if you’re too low, too high, or too fast, and to step up if you’re slacking off.
Move away from the place: The built-in videos that let you work out while taking on virtual adventures is what makes working out at home work for many, Zurcher included. “I just did a free weight class at the Rose Bowl,” she said.
Join me next week for budget-friendly ways to create a home gym.
Marni Jameson is the author of six books about the home and lifestyle. They can be accessed at www.marnijameson.com.
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