It’s been more than two years since the pandemic forced people to find new ways to get their exercise, but according to Today, many of them are now hitting the gym once again. “The pendulum has definitely swung back to people wanting to go to the gym,” explains Todd Magazine, CEO of Blink Fitness gym franchise, “because they want the community, they want the environment, they want to get out of their homes, it’s not easy to motivate yourself in your home.”
And gyms have evolved to make things safer for fitness junkies, while providing them with more options. These are some of the ways the pandemic has changed working out at the gym for the better.
More virtual, hybrid, and outdoor options – When doors were forced to close in March 2020, many gyms, including Crunch, LA Fitness, and Blink Fitness, turned to online options for members by adding and expanding virtual content. Some gyms also offer members a choice of working out completely virtually, completely in-person or a mix of both, as well as outdoor training.
Safety first – Not everyone is comfortable working out in crowds yet, so gyms are finding ways to help them stay socially distanced. At Blink, they’ve added an online capacity meter to their website to tell members how crowded it is in real-time. Other gyms are limiting shared personal trainer sessions and capping group class sizes so people feel more comfortable.
A focus on mental health – After noticing that many members felt isolated or depressed during the pandemic, some gyms have added programs focused on more than getting in shape or shrinking waistlines. At New York City’s fitness boutique Studio in the Heights, they have a 12-week “Revitalize” class for women that helps them form healthy habits around eating, sleeping, movement, and aging.