How the Pandemic Changed America’s Workout Habits

The pandemic changed the way we do a lot of things, and exercising is no exception. Just in time for summer, a new study from BarBend is shining a light on how Americans have been working out over the past couple of years, and how their exercise habits have changed, and continue to change.

During the pandemic, 54% of Americans said they started working out more while 41% said they exercised less. Of those that began working out less, 15% said they stopped working out altogether.

New Equipment

Of course, with lockdowns, people had to get creative and/or purchase their own equipment. Almost half (46%) said they invested in at-home workout equipment with the average spend being $200-$500. Three in 10 say they invested more than $500.

The most common equipment people invested in were free weights, a yoga mat, and a weight bench. About 8% say they purchased a Peloton bike or treadmill.

Online subscription and workout apps also grew in popularity during the pandemic, with more than 40% saying they still use the online program/app they signed up for.

The same cannot be said for their home equipment, however… The study showed more than half (51%) of Americans have abandoned their home gyms. 

Outdoor Walks

After a few days of being stuck indoors during the initial quarantine, Americans everywhere were itching to just get outside. Over half (56%) said they began taking daily “pandemic walks,” and it wasn’t just to enjoy nice weather. They went on walks for their mental health, as a form of daily exercise, to walk their dogs, or to spend time with their kids outside. This is a trend we continue to see this spring.

When gyms and fitness facilities closed, people had to resort to other avenues of fitness to stay in shape. Without certain equipment or instruction, the types of exercise people were drawn to also shifted. 43% of people reported changing the type of workout they focused on, with the biggest growth revolving around cardio-focused exercises (including walks and outdoor runs)

Despite pandemic restrictions and mandates lifting, many of those who have adapted to working out at home will continue to do so. Only 30% of respondents said they’ll return to exercising at a fitness facility this year.

Looking Forward

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they’re in better shape and more fit now than they were in March 2020 (the onset of the pandemic), and made changes such as exercising more, eating healthier, walking more, and cooking more. For the 34% that reported being less fit, they’ve been exercising less, haven’t been able to find the motivation to work out, and were walking less.

As we enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been an adaptation to a “new normal” and people are eagerly awaiting the “end” of the pandemic. Nearly half (42%) of respondents to BarBend’s survey said they have post-pandemic health resolutions, such as losing weight, eating healthier, and exercising more. Take a look at the full report by clicking here. You can learn more about BarBend here.

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