NOTICE | Take back control of your mental and physical well-being this summer
The Covid-19 pandemic may have forever changed the fitness industry and the way we choose to exercise, but it has also inspired an important positive change: increased awareness of physical health. and mental, and the importance of taking care of both.
While no one can control the ongoing virus and its far-reaching effects, there is one thing we have control over: our well-being and the choices we make every day to achieve that state of comfort, health. and happiness.
What it looks like is different for every person, but for many it involves some form of everyday movement – no longer confined to the walls of a gym or fitness studio. With thousands of South Africans ending their gym memberships and avoiding gyms altogether, more and more people are now exercising in the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Before the pandemic took hold of our lives, the fitness industry was worth more than $ 800 billion in the United States alone, with gym memberships, fitness clothing, and fitness monitors and trackers. contributing to the lucrative sector.
And while physical fitness companies like gyms have suffered, it’s encouraging to see that consumer demand for online fitness is booming.
More and more personal trainers, studios and fitness influencers are adapting to this global change by offering live online workouts, recorded video sessions, one-on-one virtual coaching and even free YouTube workouts.
Mobile fitness apps have become more popular than ever as people seek to continue their health journey from the comfort of their own homes, with a 46% global increase in fitness-related app downloads in the first half of 2020 .
In South Africa, AllTrails: Hiking, Running & Mountain Biking Trails, Fitness Nutrition, Home Workout – No Equipment, Six Pack in 30 Days, and Lose Belly Fat at Home are the top five free health and fitness apps. from Google Play. Employers also come to the party, subsidizing the fitness and well-being of their employees.
As the home fitness movement skyrockets, the demand for home gym equipment, such as exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines is increasing, with massive growth of 170% during lockdowns. last year.
And while those who enjoy the gym culture slowly return to their in-person classes and individual workouts, many of us who have tasted a comfortable environment to exercise at home may not recover. never have your feet in a gym or fitness studio again.
Home is where the heart is (frequency)
Humans are creatures of habit, and since the start of the pandemic we’ve learned to juggle various things around the house, doing a quick 30-minute online workout or jogging between meetings. of teams, client deadlines and family responsibilities.
It is now part of our habits, and it will be difficult to reverse the inconvenience of going to a crowded gym to use the same machines as everyone else. Not to mention the âgym shynessâ – feeling embarrassed when training in front of others – that often prevents us from going to the gym in the first place.
Also, if you don’t have the latest fitness accessories, are less fit, or don’t look like most other people in the gym, you may feel unwelcome and judged in these kinds of things. ‘environment.
With our busy schedules and constant work culture, renting home fitness equipment saves us from wasting unnecessary time, like queuing to use a specific machine or going to and from the gym.
Because we exercise when it is convenient for us and on our schedules, we are more likely to do this workout. And since no one else is using our designated equipment (well, except family members), we don’t have to worry about precautionary disinfection and the spread of germs. It’s a win-win for everyone.
A fitness revolution
Before the Covid-19 hit, millions of people around the world did not exercise at all. According to Discovery Vitality’s Fittest City Index, in 2018, one in four adults (23%) was not active enough and 10% of people died from causes related to a lack of physical activity.
In South Africa, one in two adults was not moving enough – more than double the global average, making us one of the most inactive countries in the world.
Counterintuitively, the pandemic has pushed more people to move by forcing them to be creative with more free time at home. While the average number of daily steps decreased by 12%, data from Garmin revealed that workouts with fitness equipment increased more than any other activity in our country, with indoor cardio accounting for 50% of that. Locally and globally, people are finding or rediscovering different types of exercise that work for them.
Whether it’s taking a daily walk for a clear mind or renting gym equipment to use around the house, now we have plenty of options for getting in shape that don’t involve going to the gym. the gym. People are moving towards easier ways to increase their heart rate instead of rigid workout routines.
And research confirms this, showing that all regular physical activity reduces our risk of developing chronic diseases, thereby increasing our lifespan.
If more South Africans started to see fitness as a simple movement of their body rather than spending hours in the gym, we would have a much healthier nation, both mentally and physically. Physical activity is a powerful way to take care of our mental well-being, especially during the turbulent and stressful times we experience.
On the contrary, the Covid-19 crisis has taught us that our health and fitness are precious gifts – which we have taken for granted for far too long. It is also up to us to take charge of our mental and physical well-being today for a healthy and fulfilling future – with or without a pandemic.
* Grant Levin is CEO of Stride