The Covid effect, where staying at home is the new normal, married with concerns over long-term health, has seen many exercising more regularly for health reasons, and to get a respite from work/ boredom/endless virtual meetings.
Fuelling the trend is the rise of on-demand and connected fitness devices like Peloton’s exercise bikes, intelligent home gyms like Tonal, and Apple Watch’s new Apple Fitness personalised classes. The increased accessibility to professional equipment – be it on a rental or purchase basis – also makes it possible to get a gym-standard workout without leaving the comfort and security of your living room.
“Resistance bands, dumbbells and kettlebells were the most popular equipment purchased during the circuit breaker period,” shared Jeremy Ko of Movement First, which sells fitness equipment online. “We saw a clear trend in purchases of fitness equipment, then massage-related equipment about four weeks later from the same customers.”
With budget and space as important deciding factors, individuals living in small or shared spaces aren’t without options. Premium quality yoga mats were an immediate addition as evidenced by Sugarmat’s increased sales during the circuit breaker period. “Most people invested in fitness equipment that has an all-in-one solution due to space limits,” said founder Heikal Gani. “They would get either a fitness or yoga mat that allows them to do the basic fitness moves, followed by other equipment that gives them resistance and weight.”
In light of the growth in home workouts, we speak to four women to find out how they have carved out space for their fitness needs, and the impact of doing so.
HAVINGASPIN BIKE IN MY LIVING EXERCISE ROOM MAKES A LOT MORE ACCESSIBLE.
Margaux Ith, 28, lawyer
Long workdays bring on a sedentary lifestyle and with it, weight gain and related health issues. For 28-year-old Margaux, her fitness motivation started from “losing weight gained from hours sitting at my desk” and evolved into “challenging myself to grow stronger and fitter.”
Her regular workout regime saw her attending rhythm cycling classes at Absolute Cycle, HIIT sessions at Barry's Bootcamp, and weight-related workouts at Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour gym located below her condominium. This all came to a halt when circuit breaker measures kicked in on April 7.
Putting together a home gym quickly became a priority for Margaux and her husband, an avid weightlifter.
“With the uncertainty of the pandemic, we decided that creating our home gym would be a worthy investment,” she says.
Accessibility was another factor, as the lines between home and work became nonexistent due to remote working conditions. Hence, the ability to fit in a workout at any time of the day or night became paramount.
The couple converted their balcony into a weightlifting zone, adding dumbbells, a weight bench, resistance bands, a Reebok step and a pull-up bar.
As a first-year anniversary present, Margaux’s husband gifted her a spin bike purchased from Absolute Cycle, a welcome addition that allowed Margaux to continue her workouts uninterrupted.
“Having a spin bike in my living room makes exercise a lot more accessible,” she shares. “When I first got my bike, I was doing back-to-back spin classes, sometimes even up to three! It is also easy to follow up with a simple 20-minute weights session after cycling.”
While she admits there’s a difference between “having an instructor screaming at you live versus from the screen”, being able to exercise at will has its benefits.
“Covid has definitely blurred the lines of working hours, so I find myself working longer hours at the desk and unable to switch off,” she says. “Due to this sedentary lifestyle, I’m more concerned about my workouts than ever. For a lot of people, there's also not much to do these days, so exercise is slowly becoming a way of life.
Camilla Johnson, 28, marketing consultant
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