While some countries are approaching some sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, many communities across the U.S. remain locked down. In fact, some states that previously opened up are now shutting down again as we grapple with the effects of Coronavirus.
The world has changed. And for gym rats like us, our workout routines have been thrown into a frenzy for months. We’ve established new habits, found workouts we can do from home, and have adapted to our ever-changing environments. But will these changes stick in the long run? What will fitness look like once gyms reopen and people can gather again?
Will We Return to the Gym?
Many of us left our gyms in the Spring when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the States. After a few weeks of floundering, trying to set up gyms in our garages and toga studios in our living rooms, we’ve established a new normal.
A poll from July 13 found that only about 20% of Americans say they’re comfortable returning to a gym right now. And 25% plan to never go back to their gym.
We’ve discovered new activities, learned to love the outdoors, and found ways to workout from home – ways that don’t include costly gym memberships and monotonous routines. And, of course, we’re worried about our health and catching the virus. Most of all, though, many Americans are discovering they don’t miss the gym and group workout classes.
That could spell bad news for independently-owned gyms across the country.
Virtual Fitness Classes
To stay afloat, many personal trainers and other fitness professionals are taking their skills – and their classes – online. Virtual training sessions, live fitness classes via Zoom, and streaming workout services have become increasingly popular during the pandemic.
Athletes are enjoying virtual workouts as well. More Americans are working from home than ever before, so a virtual training session or group class is a great way to stay in shape while also connecting to the outside world. For those who love the connection and comradery of a group fitness class, doing a virtual session can be a great way to keep in touch with your swole sisters.
Online searches for “home HIIT workouts” have skyrocketed during the pandemic, seeing a 57% increase overall. That’s because HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts are incredibly effective, require very little equipment, and can be done from anywhere.
As more people discover just how easy and effective an at-home HIIT workout can be, the more likely we’ll be to see this trend continue after stay-at-home orders expire.
After all, why pay a gym membership when you can get the same results from home, in the comfort and privacy of your own home?
Outdoor Group Sessions
The most updated research suggests that it’s harder to catch and spread COVID-19 outdoors. So, fitness fanatics are meeting up at local parks, parking lots, and sports complexes to workout together, at a safe distance.
This is an excellent option for those who want to camaraderie, motivation, and accountability that group fitness can bring while lowering the risk of exposure. Many CrossFit gyms and other fitness facilities are moving their workouts outdoors, allowing members to continue to train while keeping them safe.
As we learn more about the virus, it’s likely many fitness facilities will continue holding outdoor training as much as possible to ensure everyone stays healthy. Of course, as Fall and Winter come, gyms will have to reassess this plan, and members will have to decide whether or not to risk going indoors.
Fitness and Mental Health
COVID-19 isn’t just affecting our physical health. Americans are reporting higher incidences of depression and anxiety during the pandemic. That’s not surprising given so many unknowns, upheavals in our work and exercise habits, and our social isolation.
As we talked about a few weeks ago, exercise is incredibly important in maintaining mental health. During a pandemic, your workout more than necessary than ever.
Some of us are trading our high-intensity workouts for more calming exercise, like Yoga or Pilates. These workouts not only give us those mood-boosting endorphins, but they also help us feel more grounded and reduce our stress.
Once we return to a more normal lifestyle, it’s likely many people will continue using Yoga and other relaxation workouts to calm their moods.
Finally, let’s talk about nutrition. It’s no secret that the “COVID 19” (kind of like the “Freshman 15,” but for everyone) isn’t just a joke. Working from home means more of us are spending more time on the couch, eating comfort foods that don’t do our waistlines any favors.
However, studies found a 32% increase in searches for “intermittent fasting,” suggesting Americans are looking for ways to shed unwanted weight and get healthy.
Once COVID quarantine ends, will we still be interested in this latest nutrition fad? Only the future can tell. However, we certainly hope Americans reign in their pandemic diets, choosing this time to focus on planning and cooking healthy meals that keep our bodies strong.
How have YOU kept up your exercise program during the pandemic? We’d love to hear about it! Share your tips, struggles, and wins in the comments, or hit us up on social media: Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.