Work(out) from home: A pandemic stimulates an increase in internet…

Work(out) From Home: Pandemic Fuels Online Exercise Boom

Work(out) from home: A pandemic stimulates an increase in internet fitness.

Internet-connected exercise gear and services, including interactive comment sections and virtual reality headsets, have exploded during the pandemic as at-home athletes seek a substitute for gym life.

While home workouts precede the coronavirus, they have taken on a social aspect that appears to be on the verge of becoming the norm in a world altered by the epidemic.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Jeremy Needham, who does customer education for US boxing training startup Liteboxer, told AFP that “a large part of going to the gym together is sort of suffering together… you establish a camaraderie around that.”

“And now that we don’t have that space to share, at least in real-time,” he added, “we have to do it virtually.”

On top of the about $1,200 wall-mounted machine, Liteboxer, like other firms that sell internet-connected fitness gear, charges users a monthly fee for access to workouts, contests, and other features.

Fitness technology has been increasing for years, but it has gained a push in recent years, similar to the way the pandemic has accelerated e-commerce and remote working trends.

In an industry forecast, CES organizer Consumer Technology Association (CTA) stated, “Connected equipment erupted onto the scene in a huge way as customers had to adjust the way they worked out during the pandemic.”

According to CTA’s prediction, the market for internet-connected exercise equipment was nearly $3.8 billion in 2021, and double-digit percentage growth is projected this year.

“(Customers) desire connectivity,” said CTA analyst Richard Kowalski. “They want to interact with others on the internet.”

Release of a pandemic virus is required.

Customers can remark on and like other people’s exercises on Hydrow’s connected rowing machines, and users have formed their own social media communities.

“You start talking to each other, and then all of a sudden, you’ve got a group of maybe six people from all over the world,” Aquil Abdullah, who oversees the system’s workouts, told AFP.

“You’ve got a man in London, a guy in California, a guy in Florida, and you’ve got this community.”

The $2,295 machines have the standard rowing bar and seat, as well as a screen that allows customers to practice with instructors on the water in locations ranging from Miami to London.

“We do these exercises, and that’s part of developing community and connections,” said Abdullah, who competed for the United States in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

However, the connected fitness business has shown some sensitivity to the pandemic’s changing conditions and how it affects the lives of equipment users.

Peloton’s stock has been under pressure since the business lowered its projection in early November, as more consumers returned to reopening gyms.

In December, Credit Suisse downgraded Peloton, citing market dynamics as a reason for the company’s increased promotion and discounting.

However, as the Omicron variety of COVID continues to set new records around the world, many people are returning to their homes.

This trend could benefit home fitness technology companies.

“The growth trend implies that health-conscious customers are finding ease and practicality in exercising at home, even as gyms and workout courses reopen,” CTA said.

And any form of exercise has provided some people with a reprieve from the pandemic’s effects, like job, school, and travel interruptions, as well as simmering health concerns, have given them plenty to worry about.

“The epidemic trapped us indoors… we couldn’t do the things we wanted to do,” Needham explained.

“The human body, on the other hand, requires cardiovascular activity. All you need is an exciting technique to let go of the pent-up energy in your body.”

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