5 Work-From-Home Exercise Trends for 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic changed daily life for everyone. It appears those changes will hang around for at least part of 2021, if not forever. But not all of those changes have been bad.
With gym doors shut, Americans got creative to shed pounds packed on by pandemic overeating. They found socially distanced ways to stay fit by blending new tools and time-honored activities. And they did it all while managing their work lives at home.
Here are 5 work-from-home exercise trends that will continue to get a workout in 2021:
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1. The Great Outdoors Is Great
Among the COVID-19 lessons learned is that outside is a much safer place to be than inside. Couple the appeal of fresh air with working from home, and exercising outdoors is the obvious choice.
Walkers and bikers took to community trails like never before. People invested in electric bikes, running shoes and all manner of outdoor apparel. They rediscovered their parks and backyards, many for the first time since childhood.
Winter is a break, not an end, to the outdoor fun. The hikes, bikes and horseplay will be back soon.
2. Low Tech Makes the Grade
Manufacturers of dumbbells and kettlebells have finally caught up with demand. For a time, they were as difficult to get as Baby Yoda and toilet paper.
In 2020, retail sales of weight benches rose by a hefty 259% and free weights by 181%. These low-tech muscle-builders will no doubt continue to be used in a lot of living rooms in 2021. They are relatively inexpensive and take little space to store or use.
But as low tech as kettlebells may be, think lower. Think Rocky Balboa training in the Siberian wilderness.
A lot of people figured out they didn’t need weights at all to get a great workout. Money is still tight for many in 2021. So, look for more people using their own body weight for circuit training and cardio.
Jumping jacks, pushups, squats, leg lifts, lunges and planks are great toning exercises. And if you do a series of them in rapid succession, you’ll reap cardio benefits as well.
3. High Tech Offers High Returns
Think Zoom meets that full-length mirror on the back of the bedroom door. Like the magic mirror in Snow White, you can see other people. And they talk back.
Ranging in cost from $1,500 to $2,000, you’ll spend more than twice the annual gym membership fee. You’ll also need space to hang a large mirror and leave a wide berth for your workout. But it might give you that gym-like atmosphere you’ve been missing.
Slapping a video screen onto virtually every type of home exercise equipment is working. Sales of these steel-and-screen combos will continue to rise in 2021.
You can walk, run, row, spin, lift and punch with rabid encouragement shouted from the screen in front of you. These home treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, rowing machines and punching bags start at around $700 and go up to $4,300. That’s why many offer payment plans.
These high-tech options all need some green and some space. But they might bring the gym to you in 2021.
4. Streaming Goes Mainstream
Thousands have not let the absence of hot yoga or Zumba class at the gym keep them from yoga-ing or Zumba-ing. From instructors at the local YMCA to fitness influencers, everyone has gone online to keep classes going. No doubt the trend will continue in 2021.
You could just dust off that old Richard Simmons Sweatin’ with the Oldies video. But you might want to take a look at the range and volume of what’s available now.
There are more than 20,000 exercise DVDs on Amazon. And Amazon Prime streams more than 300, some for free. Stream them from that massive flatscreen you bought during the pandemic and it’s almost like being at the gym.
You might need a little space to maneuver. Apartment dwellers should be cognizant of potentially disturbing any renters below them. But videos and streaming services cost little or nothing for a daily workout, so they’re a budget-friendly option. You don’t even need to invest in cute yoga pants.
5. Apps Need Apply
All you really need is your smartphone or tablet for a great workout. You can download apps that teach you exercises and put you through the paces. And the range of choices continues to grow.
The wearable apps market has skyrocketed, with no sign of slowing down. Retail sales of wearable fitness devices are estimated to hit nearly $63 billion in 2021.
Even quaint MP3 players are making a comeback. People are looking for something less bulky than strapping a smartphone to their arm while running or biking. They’re also discovering that downloading their playlist spares them the cellular data costs of streaming.
Pandemic-fueled gym closures forced a lot of people to figure out how to exercise on their own in 2020. That’s good news for sales of outdoor and home exercise equipment. It’s also good news for tech developers exploring ways to create the gym experience at home. But it’s the best news for workout warriors who want to stay in shape in 2021.