As lockdown was announced and fitness venues around the nation closed their doors, fitness fans were sent spiralling into despair. But only briefly.
They soon took matters into their own hands, and along with the help of different apps, streaming platforms and their own personal challenges, they’ve been smashing their fitness goals despite not having equipment, instructors and their motivating workout squad. During this pandemic, a fitness revolution has taken place in the living rooms, spare bedrooms and gardens of the UK...
Here at Move, we conducted a survey across a mix of 2,712 Move members and the general UK public to gauge how their fitness in lockdown has fared. And with only 3 weeks to go until gym and fitness venues across the UK could potentially start opening their doors, here are the main takeaways.
The secret lockdown fitness revolution
So, what did we learn? Well, firstly respondents obviously wanted to get a lot off their chest! Lots and lots of people have evidently suffered from not having physical classes.
Lack of commitment and motivation to work out at home is rife, with mentions of needing their fave instructor, the energy of those around them, and of course specialist equipment. But there’s also a large volume of people who haven’t been stopped by the shutdown of their gyms, pools, climbing walls, dance studios, yoga havens and boxing rings.
How have people stayed active at home?
The survey revealed that during the pandemic:
72% have been keeping active, predominantly doing outside activities with a mix of on-demand platforms and live-streaming on Move for classes. This has signified a huge shift in the perception of home fitness.
69% hadn't tried home fitness before, but 86% have now said that their perception of home fitness has changed for the better.
With many preferring live streaming as a workout option, they commented that a live class with an interactive instructor creates a sense of commitment once booked, and "the convenience of being able to roll out of bed straight into ‘a class’", has smashed barriers for those previously hindered by location.
52% have discovered new workouts from having so many streaming classes at their fingertips. Previously they had little idea about how much variety existed in online fitness.
These new circumstances have unlocked the confidence to try out new classes for the first time from the comfort of their own home.
And when they’re not working out in front of a screen, many have set themselves challenges to keep their fitness tip top. From gardening and housework to 30-day splits challenges and hula-hooping, people have got seriously creative in ways to stay active in a locked-down world.
5km and 10km personal bests have been achieved, thousands of burpees and push-ups have been churned out, and head and handstands are the latest challenges to perfect when you’re stuck at home!
Staying active for mental health.
Nearly 20% work out for their mental health and have pushed through in order to bust stress and anxieties, take their mind off pandemic concerns, slay insomnia and generally keep themselves distracted.
Bollywood dance, Barre and street dance classes were also mentioned as activities they’ve nailed from live streaming workouts - potentially inspired by the TikTok dance trends or the mental challenge of memorising choreography.
How will the fitness industry fare in a post-lockdown world?
So with a new nation that's been keeping active despite not having the bells and whistles of their fitness venues, how will this affect the fitness industry in a post-lockdown world?
With 43% keen to get going in their favourite venues and are severely missing the social aspect of working out, 55% are more cautious. Especially those who are high risk or living with a high-risk friend/family member - they’ll have their eye on the curve and the potential second wave before considering returning.
Concerns over returning to venues when they reopen are dependent on some key things: Social distancing enforced in classes, space and ventilation, and high hygiene standards… and whether they’ll be able to get into their venue due to fewer slots open for participants.
But that doesn’t mean that people won’t be going back to in-person, physical classes. It means that they’ll certainly want to feel protected inside venues, but they’ll be supplementing their active lifestyles in venues with home workouts.
The barrier has been knocked down and people have discovered they can retain their fitness using their own motivation, tins of beans, stairs and gardening shears.
What fitness providers are thinking:
This shift is not going unnoticed by the industry. A survey of a sample of Move’s fitness providers reveals that 92% are planning to continue their delivery of online and live-streamed classes. Around 48% said that the income from live-streaming has been vital during lockdown.
We're now empowering venue operators with technology to live-stream their classes and introducing new products to allow easy ‘omni’ delivery of physical classes, live-streamed to at-home customers.
Alister Rollins, CEO and founder of Move, commented: “We believe the mass adoption of at-home exercise will actually strengthen the broader industry as facilities start to open. Customers are going to be more active as long as they can still access at-home classes from their operator because of the convenience even if in-person visits might drop because of social distancing. More overall activity will result in increased loyalty and reduced churn."
“That said, many instructors think they won’t be able to compete with the slick on-demand classes available. The trick will be for providers to offer online classes incorporating a social element. Live two-way streaming will be the way forward, blending at-home and physical memberships to bring the community feel of an in-person class into your home.”
Move has over 250,000 registered users making use of over 6,000 fitness venues pre-lockdown - from gyms and pools, to aerial hoop, yoga studios and climbing. Within a week of lockdown being announced, Move had pivoted its product to offer live-streaming, enabling fitness businesses to maintain their fitness offerings and income. Move At Home is now the largest live-streaming fitness platform in the UK with thousands of workouts available.