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Trends in Virtual Exercise: The Fitness Industry After Coronavirus

by Zoe Williams(more info)

listed in exercise and fitness, originally published in issue 283 - January 2023

Staying active and fit has always been crucial to maintaining good health. But more people feel that going to the gym should be a regular part of their routine as a result of the surge in social media influencers and friends blogging about their fitness routine. It proves that exercise boosts the strength and confidence of many people. Social media can be a useful tool as long as the information stays inspirational rather than turning into a straight comparison.

Online fitness courses offer an alternative for those who don't want to commit to a monthly gym membership while also being an essential part of keeping gym-goers in shape and healthy. Since many people are time-constrained, they would rather get their endorphin fix in a way that works better with their schedules than going for a long run or taking a studio fitness class.

In this article, we explore the various online fitness options available, what might change in the future, and why this approach to raising your heart rate might be the answer you've been waiting for.


Woman doing Yoga

Woman doing Yoga


The Various Virtual Workout Techniques

There are several possibilities available within the area of virtual exercise. Your decision will simply come down to how much time you have, the kind of workout you want, and whether you want to push yourself harder with a live fitness coach or whether you can find the motivation to achieve your goals on your own.

Streaming or Recording Classes at Home

The majority of individuals define virtual exercise as taking a live or recorded class while they exercise. The class will be led by an instructor who will conduct the exercises and provide motivation and encouragement.

The closest alternative to physically attending a session at a studio is to take a live-streamed class, which gives you the opportunity to ask for modifications to the difficulty or to account for any injuries. Being required to log on at a certain time can assist some people actually show up to class, so they find it useful to have this set commitment.

However, having a choice of pre-recorded lessons can be a wonderful alternative for individuals who want sessions on demand or want to choose the type of exercise on a daily basis. Numerous gyms began to provide this service to their members before and after the pandemic, offering courses for participants throughout the country in addition to lessons offered by familiar local instructors from the members' own club.

There are numerous apps and websites that offer a variety of regularly updated programs for individuals who don't want to commit to a pricey gym subscription. The main advantage of choosing an on-demand service is that you have the freedom to decide how long you stay in class without having to awkwardly leave early if you have to go someplace else.

Additionally, a variety of class lengths – from fast 10-minute wake-up sessions to demanding hour-long sessions – will probably be offered. This may be a desirable choice for individuals who need to schedule their fitness program around other obligations.


Wearing Virtual Headsets

Man and Woman Meditating in VR Headsets

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Virtual World

Since individuals have grown accustomed to living a large portion of their digital life, the amount of time we spend online has risen.

As a method to socialize and play games with friends from the comfort of your own home, the metaverse has been progressively gaining popularity in recent years. Although at first glance it would appear to be a standard video game with a chat feature, it has now grown significantly. Instead, users design their own avatars and don VR goggles to fully immerse themselves in the metaverse.

Even though virtual reality (VR) headsets are an expensive investment, they provide a novel kind of workout experience that is intended to transport users to another place. These video games and training sessions emphasize giving players experiences they wouldn't otherwise have by simply staring at a screen, whether it be something vaguely realistic like riding a bike along a Tour de France route or something extraterrestrial like punching, lunging, and squatting aliens.

Instead of concentrating on how sore their muscles are and how much time is remaining, it is intended that the person exercising be distracted by their surroundings and almost workout without realizing it.

Taking Gym Classes Online

Some gyms now offer virtual courses in-studio to entice clients back while lowering the number of instructors required on the staff. This suggests that there are a lot of gym patrons there even when there isn't an instructor present. Instead, a screenplay recreates a previously taped lesson that customers can watch at home.

With this hybrid option, people will experience the excitement of taking a live class with others, where they will gain extra motivation from those around them. To operate the lesson, however, there is no requirement for a staff person at the gym. Instead, a single central instructor conducts the class and records it so that it may be bought and performed at any time by a large network of clubs around the country.

Virtual Fitness in the Future

Fitness is expected to continue to play a significant role in many people's lives, with the gym business expected to reach a value of $59 billion by 2027, growing by at least 30% annually. The same study demonstrates how this tendency has favourably benefited the fitness sector by revealing that 72% of respondents who were surveyed use virtual exercise resources at least as often as they did during the epidemic.

As exercisers balance work, caring responsibilities, and social obligations, mini-workouts in 15-minute bursts are expected to stay popular. Instead of a hot 45-minute class that necessitates a change of clothes and a designated training room, people prefer a quick burst of fitness that doesn't significantly interrupt their day. Recognize the value of incorporating exercise into your daily activities, such as lunging while carrying goods or running upstairs. Even though it might not seem like much, getting up from your desk is a far better option.

With #weightedhulahoop receiving 200 million views on TikTok and searches for weighted hula hoops increasing 234.35% since last year, social media is also promoting a surge in physical activity in 2022. These big hoops, which are unlike the typical gym weights, are effective at strengthening your core, appealing to the eye on social media, and a fun method to tone up. These kinds of trends, which are shared on social media, provide people with fresh inspiration and could motivate them to exercise.

The Advantages of Exercising Online

Virtual workout sessions can provide considerably more diversity than a regular gym routine, if you can develop the habit of taking them. With an on-demand service, you can choose a class based on your mood while a studio often offers the same sessions at the same time each week. Alternately, if you enjoy a certain regular class, stick with it and try something new on the other days.

You have more freedom to try new things when you attend classes online. While paying for a new class you're not sure you'll like in person can make you hesitant, if it's part of your total virtual package, you can test things out without feeling obligated. Furthermore, it removes the social embarrassment of leaving the studio in the middle of class if you don't like it.

Accessibility Benefits

Many pieces of gym equipment can be challenging for those who require accessibility. Because of the following:

  • Their physical needs can't be accommodated by the equipment;
  • Going to the gym can be overwhelming;
  • Gyms may have slopes instead of steps, and there may not be enough disabled showers and changing areas;
  • Because of their medical issues, individuals might need to take regular breaks from exercising or have a support system nearby in case they experience a medical emergency;
  • Attending classes that do not support their requirements can be difficult for people who are deaf or blind in particular.

People who require more accessibility can still benefit from exercising in a more comfortable setting by taking virtual exercise courses. To give people the freedom to choose what feels right for them on any given day, this might also work well in conjunction with going to the gym.

Fitness and Life Balance

It might be challenging to find time for exercise between job, caring obligations, socializing, and hobbies. Going to the gym takes time, both for the actual workout and for getting there, showering, and changing afterwards. This time commitment may cause some people to skip their workouts or completely consume their evening.

Exercise that you do virtually can speed up the process and let you multitask. For instance, if you are the only person responsible for your young children but they are capable of amusing themselves, you wouldn't be able to leave the house to go to the gym. By working out at home, you might still be with your family while working out, allowing you to maintain your training schedule. The 40 minutes it might take for your meal to cook in the oven could be an excellent opportunity for a brief home workout. This is useful for other jobs as well.

There are people who find it difficult to attend studio classes. It can be challenging to attend a class, make it back to the gym in time for a session, and then make it to work in time for the start of the day for individuals who don't live close to their gym. Exercise should assist you relieve stress, not cause you to become agitated while stuck in traffic on your way to the gym or to the office. This issue can be solved through virtual exercise, which allows you to work out without stress on your own timetable.


Yoga in Sportswear

Woman in Sports Clothes doing Yoga

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Getting Started With a Home Equipment

The quantity of equipment a person possesses at home often depends on two elements: available space and available funds. There are many various options available for individuals who have the space, ranging from full-weight racks to rowing machines and treadmills. This choice mostly concentrates on selecting the fitness equipment that best suits you while generally attempting to resemble a regular gym. Unfortunately, in order to make the most of your investment, you really need to be devoted to utilizing it because it is both expensive and takes up a lot of space.

Having a limited amount of exercise equipment that you can store once you're finished with it is a more manageable option. Several excellent entry-level alternatives, depending on the classes you take, include:

  • A yoga mat;
  • Bands for resistance training;
  • Dumbbells;
  • Kettlebell;
  • Skipping rope (you can even get one that works perfectly to your phone if you're into smart technology).

For those who can afford them, exercise bikes are also a common option for the home because they don't take up a lot of room. Depending on the model you select, some bicycles have a screen that enables you to ‘cycle’ well-known routes while displaying a virtual landscape while you peddle. You might be able to take virtual spin sessions with an instructor on your bike. Your buddies can take the same class as you if they have the same technology as you.

Cycling from the comfort of your home can be a tempting alternative to cycling at the gym. Watching your own TV shows as you pedal is far more appealing than selecting whatever generic option is on the gym screen, even if you choose one without a screen.

Establish a Routine

Getting started with fitness can be one of the most difficult aspects of it all. It's simpler to fit going to the gym into your schedule when you're also driving home from work or running errands. In contrast, you must be responsible for your workout progress in online exercise classes. Even though you know you'll feel great once your reps are over, it can be tempting to give up if your yoga mat is set up next to the couch.

If they establish a regimen, some people find it easier to workout at home. The only way to create a long-lasting habit is repetition, so try to consider your goals and how frequently you want to work out each week.

A virtual personal trainer can be useful, as can working together with a friend. The push you require to get started, even when you're exhausted, can just be sharing your results with someone who will encourage you to keep going. There are many trainers out there that can provide you with programs that you may perform at home, or a combination of home and gym, thanks to the advent of internet workout during the pandemic.

Wearable Technology

Smart watches and other wearable devices are growing more popular as people strive to lead healthier lives. Micro-monitoring information can provide us a concrete sense of control over our lives and health, or at least a sense that we are making efforts to manage it, in a world where change is constant.

This smart technology goes far beyond watches; for individuals who want something a little more discreet or participate in activities where it would be hazardous to wear a watch, there are also smart rings and garments that serve the same function.

Although pedometers and other fitness trackers have been around for a while, the main advantage of the new gadgets is that they provide a more individualized experience. They automatically sync with your smartphone, making it simple to follow your progress and maintain an activity log. They track variables like heart rate, sleep, calories burned, and more in addition to steps, making them significantly superior to a traditional pedometer.

Many watches also feature an integrated motivating tool that buzzes you to get up and move around when you've been sitting motionless for too long or alerts you when you're getting near your daily target. A habit of exercising is eventually formed as a result of the serotonin high that comes with exceeding your daily goal.

VR Headsets

VR headsets, as we previously noted, can be an intriguing choice for folks who enjoy exercising without really feeling like they're doing out. Virtual reality (VR) attempts to gamify the exercise experience, making individuals more eager to train for longer lengths of time, just like going out dancing with your friends doesn't feel like a chore.

People who have to intentionally include movement into their daily routines since they aren't naturally gym members may find this concept of "exercising by accident" to be particularly appealing. If your buddies have headsets, you can play multiplayer games together just like you would on a video game if you so want.

It's interesting to note that a study discovered that individuals could exercise for longer periods of time when using VR headsets than when not using them. Additionally, they noted an average heart rate that was lower, indicating that VR may lessen the effort needed for exercise. These findings may be helpful in persuading those who are wary of the pain that exercising can bring on to start an exercise regimen. Additionally, it might motivate those who have the physical capacity to exercise longer but lose interest or give up once it becomes uncomfortable.

It's crucial to first research the games or workouts you want to undertake if you're thinking about purchasing VR equipment. Since you'll need to use a headset frequently to make the purchase price worthwhile, having one that you want to use rather than one that you have to force yourself to pick up is essential for success.


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About Zoe Williams

Zoe Williams is a freelance writer and editor who focuses mainly on beauty and health, sustainability, and scientific issues. She graduated with a degree in English Language and enjoys writing articles that are thought-provoking and provide readers with important insights on how to be healthy while saving the environment.

She has over three years of experience as a health educator, assisting clients in gaining strength, enhancing mobility, and recovering from injuries. She may be contacted via

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