WILL GYMS GO THE WAY OF ARCADES AND MOVIE RENTAL STORES?
Techlife News|Techlife News #511
Going to the gym was always part of Kari Hamra’s routine until last year’s government-ordered shutdowns forced her to replace the workouts with daily rides on her Peloton stationary bike.

That’s when she discovered something surprising — she did not miss the gym. At least not the driving back and forth, filling water bottles, changing clothes and most of all, taking time away from her husband and two boys.

Now that her gym in Springfield, Missouri, is open again, she’s slowly returning. But finding a more convenient exercise schedule at home and seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases in her hometown this summer have her questioning how much she needs the gym. She figures that if there never had been a coronavirus outbreak “I would still be a gym rat.”

The pandemic has reshaped how Americans exercise and upended the fitness industry, accelerating the growth of a new era of high-tech home workout equipment and virtual classes.

Thousands of small fitness centers and studios that were forced to close a year ago now are gone for good. Others are struggling to stay afloat and have redesigned their spaces, turned toward more personal workouts and added online training.

The question is can they survive the onslaught from the apps and pricey bikes and treadmills or will they go the way of arcades, video rental shops and bookstores.

Interactive fitness equipment maker Peloton is betting the workout-from-home trend is here to stay. It’s breaking ground Monday on its first U.S. factory just outside Toledo, Ohio, where it plans to begin production in 2023 and employ 2,000 workers.

Demand surged so much during the pandemic that some Peloton customers had to wait months for their bikes. While the company said the backlog has waned, it reported that sales have continued to soar, up 141% in the first three months of this year.

Company founder and CEO John Foley thinks it’s inevitable that technology-driven home fitness will become dominant much like how streaming services have changed movie watching, calling the idea of going to a gym “a broken model of yesteryear.”

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