Fitness has been a hot topic throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other public spaces, the private gyms found in towns across the country shut their doors, while people stuck at home tuned into workouts with their favorite trainers and celebrities.
However, as time wore on and it became clear that gyms wouldn’t be reopening any time soon, and that they would likely pose a high risk of infection when they did, a growing number of homeowners started creating home gym facilities.
Home Gyms – A Brief History
COVID-19 may have pushed a growing group of people to install home gyms, but these spaces are not a new phenomenon. In fact, the first pieces of home gym equipment – unfamiliar as they might seem to the modern eye – were developed during the Victorian era. The first big moment in the life of the home gym, though, was in the mid-1980s. With the launch of QVC in 1986, television programs and commercials promoted an array of equipment, such as the Total Gym and Thigh Master, all backed by celebrities. With that, a new age of home fitness was born.
A Site Of Concern
Many people may own a piece or two of home gym equipment, but many of those same individuals also had gym memberships in the pre-COVID era. Going to the gym provided much more variety; places like Planet Fitness or Crunch Fitness have many more types of equipment than any home fitness buff. Others typically opt for gyms where they can take classes or practice a particular fitness approach, like Barre or CrossFit. As businesses prepare to reopen, though, many Americans feel gyms have reached their natural end. Breathing heavily in a space with other people feels too risky.
Public gyms may now be a thing of the past for most users, but it does take some effort to create a quality workout space at home. As part of this process, companies have seen an uptick in requests for mirror installation, as homeowners craft their studio space. Meanwhile, on social media, there are reports that items like hand weights are widely out of stock, while high-end brands like Peloton are seeing a rush on their connected bikes.
The current home gym building spree is different from ordinary equipment adoption, which normally takes place slowly as buyers take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Instead, what we’re seeing right now is an all-at-once buy-in because the health risks are too great. Gym equipment may be expensive, but it’s nothing compared to COVID-related medical bills.
There’s one other major change that is informing the current home gym movement, and that’s the broader accessibility of fitness classes online. People can work out with their favorite trainers and access classes at a range of price points. They also still have the choice to continue supporting local teachers who have shifted their businesses online. Though the studio space may be a thing of the past, the social and technical supports have come home to stay.
Installing a full-scale home gym might seem like a big space commitment, but with future fitness options uncertain, it’s a worthwhile investment for many people. This is part of adapting to a new way of living – bringing health home to stay.