What a crazy year it's been so far! The lockdown saw us having to re-invent our training and exercise regimes. Those of us who previously attended lengthy gym sessions or group exercise classes were suddenly launched into having to think about new ways of staying fit and healthy at home. For some, furlough threw up additional time to spend exercising, which in ‘real life’ terms, just wouldn’t have been possible.
So, how has this affected us post lockdown and what does this mean for the future of the exercise and fitness industry.
We were allowed to have our daily dose of fresh air and so many people took to the streets for a run, walk or cycle. Bikes and running shoes were dusted off and many people embarked on this as a family activity. Lockdown actually gave many the opportunity to re-ignite their love of fitness and tackle challenges such as the couch to 5k and other, similar activities.
With gyms closing for a time, virtual workouts became one of the most popular ways to exercise. Joe Wicks took the country and world by storm with his morning PE Sessions to kick-start the day. You could do these ‘live’, or catch-up later in the day via his YouTube channel.
And, of course, these weren’t the only exercise classes we could find on YouTube. The app is filled with a plethora of classes from yoga and pilates to HIIT and strength-based sessions. Great for those who want to exercise at a time to suit them without leaving the house.
As well as getting involved in pre-recorded classes, trainers went live with ‘real-time’ sessions via Youtube and Instagram. This enables us to train from the comfort of our own home whilst having the motivation of someone telling you what to do.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been revealed as the most popular fitness trend during lockdown. HIIT training is quick and high intensity which means it burns a high amount of calories in one session, metabolic rate is higher for hours after exercise, it reduces heart rate and blood pressure and it can help you to lose fat. Many people are seeing the benefits of HIIT workouts and the ease of doing them from home. The soar in popularity will continue post-lockdown now that people have seen the benefit and created the habit.
When we got the nod enabling outdoor exercise in small groups, there was a surge in outdoor bootcamps. This is obviously fantastic in summer months and on cold, dry, crisp days, but the great British weather will potentially have a negative effect on this progressing. The beauty of this type of session is that those gyms with outdoor areas were able to utilise these spaces for bootcamp-style sessions, however, those without could simply make use of any outdoor space. You only have to walk past a field or park and inevitably one of these sessions is in progress.
Bodyweight strength training
Most of us weren’t prepared for lockdown with a fully-furnished indoor gym within the house. In fact, many people down little or no kit at all. In addition, those online sites which did stock items, were sold out in a matter of days and so it was impossible to get your hands on even the basics.
The beauty of bodyweight training is that no kit is required and you can do it, any time, anywhere. Plus, it can be scaled up and down to suit fitness and strength levels. There are countless combinations and specific body parts can be targeted. Because of the ease of this type of exercise, there’s no doubt this type of training will continue post-lockdown.
Exercise for mental health
Some people loved lockdown – the slower pace of life and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Many people had a very different view and found it stressful and claustrophobic. Especially for the latter category, exercise was a fantastic outlet to get some time to yourself and expend some pent-up energy.
We all know the wonderful release of serotonin and the positive effect that and exercise can have on our mental health and if you weren’t a fitness fan before, it may be that you’ve now discovered a love for how fantastic it can make you feel and so hopefully this will be part of your weekly routine moving forwards.