As the fitness industry has shifted this year, so did the way we work out — we went from sweating in gyms and pilates studios to sweating in our studio flats while tuning into Zoom workouts on our smart screens. The move away from physical gyms has had huge repercussions on our exercise habits, and ClassPass’s 2020 Trends Report, which is based on data from 30,000 studios, gyms, and wellness centres in 30 countries, calls out some of the most significant shifts.
The obvious: Streamed workouts are huge. But it doesn’t end here. The class booking platform reported a giant increase in the number of people who claimed to work out at noon. In fact, lunch was the most popular time to exercise during the workweek — a first in the history of the ClassPass report.
The reason for this jump: More people are working from home and working out online, notes Julia Healey, director and head of account management at ClassPass. This combo eliminates all the barriers to a nooner. Virtual fitness classes allowed people to exercise steps away from their “offices” (read: WFH setups), without having to worry about coworkers seeing them all sweaty. “So many people have had to develop new routines during the past year, but a bright spot has been the option to sleep in a bit later and use commute time for activities such as fitness or spending more time with your kids at home,” Healey says.
There are some study-backed benefits to working out mid-day. Since you’ve probably already eaten breakfast, your blood sugar levels have had time to rise post-meal, making it easier to do high-intensity workouts, according to Anthony Hackney, PhD, professor of exercise physiology & nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Plus, it can help you refocus. “[An afternoon workout] can help you get back in gear and be more present later on in the day,” health and fitness strategist Jay Cardiello claims.
There has also been a notable shift in the types of workouts that people opt to go for. Yoga’s popularity rose by 25% compared to 2019, making it the most popular digital workout of the year. Healey says this shift probably occurred because folks were looking for something to decrease the pandemic stress.
Yoga has been especially popular during the pandemic due to its restorative and stress-relieving properties.
It’s difficult to say whether any of these trends will continue into 2021; hopefully, we won’t still be confined to the four walls of our homes for the majority of next year, but if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Until then, exercise offers a great way to blow off some steam and stay centred — whether you’re sneaking in a short run between Zoom calls or finishing your day with a quick whole-body workout…
For more insights from the ClassPass 2020 trends report, click here.