In the world of fitness there are always new trends– some lasting longer than others. With social distancing measures and the closing of gyms in recent years, a new way of working out has been on the rise. I’m talking about Virtual Fitness. In this technological age, it should come at no surprise that we have now found a way to connect exercise with using our phones, but this is more than that. As the months have gone by, Virtual Fitness has become more developed, seeing incredible advancements in the space that is sure to inspire anyone to work on themselves.
Virtual fitness is a way of working out that combines exercise with virtual reality. It provides the feeling of interacting with others, or working with an instructor, but with the added bonus of being able to do it from home (or from anywhere you would like). Tracking your activity through a device, following a video online, and using an exercise application are all forms of virtual fitness.
There have been many companies that have had to pivot their business models and even their product offerings and modes of delivery due to the covid-19 pandemic. Because of this, we have seen the emerge of new innovative products and ways to connect with the customer by way of virtual fitness.
Other than the move to online classes, today, there are also apps, one being WIRTUAL, which has taken virtual fitness to new heights of innovation, creating a community of users that compete in running / walking / cycling / swimming challenges and earn cryptocurrency, simply for being active. WIRTUAL capitalizes on technological integration with smart watches and applications that creates a personalized experience.
Then there are companies that create at-home versions of gym equipments that connect to the internet, one of which is Peloton, a company that offers at-home exercise equipments such as stationary bikes and treadmills which connect directly to they app that provides training classes and programs.
Other than this, there is also Mirror, an interactive workout device that is essentially a mirror for your home. It connects to a plethora of workouts for you to follow on your own or to compete with others while tracking your progress through you Apple Watch and displaying it on a dashboard on the mirror.
Dose to quarantine and lockdown measures that have swept the globe in the last couple of years, Virtual Fitness has tapped into the existing fitness market where they reach customers that have recently had no other option but to adjust their routines and find ways to workout from home.
What may come as more of a surprise is that virtual fitness has also expanded the market and has reached those that would not normally be active. There are a few reasons digital training has done this:
This is due to its flexibility, allowing people to work out on their own time and eliminating the extra time it takes to go to a physical gym. Applications on the market like WIRTUAL allow people to exercise anytime, anywhere, while not necessarily compromising on interactiveness.
Due to the pandemic, more people have been turning to exercise as a coping mechanism or a form of stress management, especially in the early stages of lockdown and quarantine where tensions and anxieties were high. There was a huge trend in yoga, with this particular form of meditative exercise surging in popularity at the beginning of the pandemic, and even remaining popular since then with many who have now integrated it into their permanent routines.
Many businesses that were once in-person classes, gyms and studios were forced to pivot into providing virtual classes, having programs through applications, and even personal training through video calls. This change is the reason the industry was able to tap into a new kind of consumer. There are many people that want to get into exercising, but suffer from body image issues or feelings of embarrassment when it comes to exercising in public. With so many now aiming to provide consumers with ways to achieve their fitness goals from home, this group of people have been inspired to get into working out. Combined with pandemic-induced stresses, this has encouraged more people that may have never had a fitness routine to develop one.
Virtual fitness has been able to expand the market, and with lockdown being drawn out in many places, it has given people a chance to make virtual training a habit that will last beyond the pandemic.
In times when we can’t interact physically with others, virtual training is the next best thing and could be seen as a default option for fitness fanatics. However, as time goes on and gyms begin to reopen, many are finding that they prefer the routine they had developed while at home. Surprisingly, people have realized they didn’t miss the gym at all!
As time goes on, and more gyms and fitness centers reopen, it’s likely that even those who will return to the gym will also continue to engage in digital fitness and have a virtual fitness component permanently in their routines.
Physical gyms are also realizing the consumer preference of technological integration as well as the importance of blending the world of virtual fitness into their business model. With gym memberships having been in steady decline, these business realize the need to expand their offerings into virtual fitness and many have plans to offer livestream group workouts as well as other online programs.
Virtual fitness is something that has been around since the pre-pandemic days and was beginning to garner traction even before lockdown. But naturally as quarantine became more widespread, the need for a fitness alternative that could be done from home suddenly surged. The helped to grow the success of companies that were already operating virtually as well as inspiring business that usually only provided physical spaces and classes to expand their offerings. Regular gym-goers were forced to adjust their routines and with businesses providing new at-home channels, even more that were not typically active were encouraged to get involved. As we begin to re-enter normalcy one again, it will become clearer that Virtual Fitness is here to stay, and we are still at the beginning of this lasting transformation.