THIS is an iso-trend that looks set to stick around and keep pushing people to their physical limits in the comforts of home.
People were almost three times more likely to meet national guidelines for exercise and muscle strength if they used digital fitness platforms with restricted access to gyms and personal trainers, a new Deakin University study has found. This rate was almost four times more likely among teenagers using online workouts.
Gym owners in Ballarat who turned up online offerings in the past year said this was an element set to stay in the fitness world.
Ballarat Body and Soul Genesis owner Mel Tempest said hybrid gym memberships had already become a big deal in the United States, allowing members a chance to access online and onsite classes.
Her gym had a limited period classes offered by Les Mills but gained strong traction via Facebook live classes, that fired up again during Victoria’s snap lockdown this month. They moved to closed group live streaming to promote privacy and strengthen connections within the gym’s community.
Online classes will be something people always have in their life now. You can have that choice of being in a club or doing a work-out at home.
Mel Tempest, Ballarat Body and Soul Genesis owner
“The feedback we got from a lot of women saying they enjoyed having Mel in their living room still when the gyms were closed,” Ms Tempest said. “We still have heaps of ladies doing online classes who haven’t come back into the gym yet. A lot of people hired or purchased second-hand equipment from us.”
Ms Tempest said this online fitness was an increasingly competitive market.
A lot of younger people tended to follow major Instagram influencers, in which Ms Tempest said the danger was often these were sponsored but not qualified professionals. Others turned to fitness brand names like Tiffiny Hall’s TiffXO and 28 By Sam Wood.
Ms Tempest found most Ballarat people aged over-35 tended to be more interested in supporting local business.
Technology was also there for community gyms to keep pace. Wearable technology linked in with programs can allow instructors, like Ms Tempest, to monitor people’s heart rates and fitness statistics should they opt in when working out at home. This can allow instructors to better tailor classes.
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Absolute Yoga and Pilates owner Tracey Hargreaves said the uptake for online yoga, Pilates and barre classes was “awesome” the past year. Ms Hargreaves’ gym had launched online classes before the pandemic hit, which she said helped in the fast need to adapt in restrictions.
While her gym has scaled back some online classes, Ms Hargreaves said online was still an important component to her business.
“It’s been interesting in personal preference. Some people just want face-to-face, for others online is s convenient for them,” Ms Hargreaves said. “We had lots of regulars who were trying classes they wouldn’t do before because they would’ve felt self-conscious.”
Ms Hargreaves said her members also appreciated hearing Australian accents and seeing familiar people guide them in classes.
Deakin’s ‘Our Life at Home’ study lead Kate Parker said social media and video platforms were appealing because they were often free to use, readily accessible and presented a broad range of exercise options.
“We found that women and adults in paid employment were more likely to use digital platforms for exercise,” Dr Parker said. “This probably reflects the types of activities more commonly used by women, such as yoga and dance, are very adaptable to online environments and are accessible any time of the day or night and regardless of the weather.”
Dr Parker said the study results offered great opportunities for government and other organisations in promotion and education in physical activity to the general public.
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