The fitness industry has changed dramatically during the pandemic, altering our overall exercise experience. This 2021, experts see the industry tapping more into tech and a growing consumer demand for personalization and freedom, and a significant rise in virtual fitness.
People’s fitness motivations come from a variety of reasons, whether it’s a desire for long-term health, an interest in the latest tech, or a general passion for all things wellness. It just makes perfect sense to reset and restore our motivation with these exciting trends that are anticipated to define fitness in 2021.
Prior to the lockdown, many clubs had begun to test the viability of virtual fitness by developing mobile apps with on-demand libraries of workouts and implementing remote coaching. But as 95 percent of studios and gyms around the world closed their physical spaces, the need for online alternatives accelerated and brought digital fitness to an all-time high.
The team at ClassPass recently conducted a wellness index study and reported that 81 percent of their members worked out using digital options, with yoga emerging on top. As people called for ways to combat pandemic stress, yoga increased in popularity by 25 percent, followed by high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and Pilates. Restorative fitness, meditation and stretching also rank in the Top 10 on-demand activities booked by members around the world.
More lunchtime workouts
COVID-19 restrictions have encouraged gyms and trainers to expand their online presence to encourage more people to train no matter where they are or what the time is. People who were chained to their desks now find the need to step away and get active. In fact, for the first time ever, 12 p.m. is the most favored time to exercise, with lunchtime workouts seeing a 67-percent increase in popularity.
Increased focus on HIIT
HIIT ranked second in trends this year, according to American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal, and it’s poised to remain one of the top fitness trends in 2021. HIIT exercises usually take significantly less time compared to regular ones, making them attractive to busy people or even those at home.
Focusing on body and mind training
The trend toward topics such as yoga, mental training or Pilates already existed before the coronavirus but was intensified by the pandemic, says ISPO.com. The desire is triggered not only by job-related stress, but also by the strenuous home schooling or financial and health fears in connection with the lockdown.
As more and more people seek to combine physical training with mental repose, practices such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness-based stress reduction and meditation are predicted to become mainstays over the next few weeks and well into 2021.
Return to gyms
Of the respondents, 92 percent hope they can return to studios and gyms in 2021. The study also revealed that when gyms started reopening late last year, two underperforming genres during the lockdown had climbed back to the top: indoor cycling and reformer Pilates, where bookings have increased by 30 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
Experts suggest that many fitness enthusiasts will continue to consume digital workouts, but rely on studio classes for the workouts that are tough to do at home.
Safety information is also a key factor in the decision to return to gyms. At Anytime Fitness, members are updated about sanitation efforts and session guidelines. Members are also encouraged to use the new Anytime Fitness App so they can keep their fitness goals in check anytime, anywhere.
Getting back into the swing of things postpandemic is also something to watch out for in the coming year. As our bodies reacclimate to being mobile again, recovery is something that can be integrated throughout an entire workout or activity. Warming up, activating your body and adding a recovery routine play a vital role in health and wellness management.
Our renewed focus and increasing need for health and wellness ultimately means that the industry, although riddled with a lot of changes, is essential not just this 2021 but in the coming years ahead. —CONTRIBUTED INQ