Positive Takeaways From the Pandemic
There’s no question 2020 was one of the most challenging for gyms and health clubs. This was one of the industries most impacted by the pandemic, as it wasn’t included in essential businesses allowed to stay open or in the first round of government assistance. Even when allowed to reopen, gyms faced challenges of tough restrictions and nervousness from the public about the risk of exposure.
While your gym faced these difficulties and your members may have embraced at-home and outdoor exercise, we encourage you to look on the bright side. Just as the pandemic did throughout society, it helped shine a light on the gym industry in some ways that can help it going forward. Here are some positive takeaways to consider.
1. The Value of Gyms Was Highlighted
The public and many politicians focused on gyms and the many reasons they should be open, should receive support and should be seen as essential. Most of all, the focus was on how they help people be more physically healthy, a topic with greater emphasis because of the pandemic. People were at higher risk of more severe illness or complications from coronavirus if they had certain pre-existing conditions, many of which develop from an unhealthy lifestyle with too much sitting and not enough exercise or healthy eating.
But the full value of gyms also became clearer. People noticed that gyms provide mental health support, social support, routines, a welcome space away from home, and other benefits that they came to miss. And on a basic fitness level, gyms offer numerous high-quality machines, classes, fitness professionals, and equipment that you can’t match at home.
2. We Recognized the Importance of In-Person Contact
As our world was increasingly becoming digitized overtime before the pandemic, we were learning to carry out more aspects of our lives online and from home. The pandemic only furthered this push, and in the gym world, encouraged people to work out at home. But instead of the increased time at home convincing people, this is the way of the future, people increasingly felt lonely and isolated. They wanted to get out. They wanted to be around others. They no longer took for granted the value of in-person experiences. This is great for gyms, as people can see that it’s not the same working out in their living rooms. They gain so much social connection at the gym.
3. We Saw How Gyms Can Adapt and Help
Gyms are businesses that can adapt to changing times, and they did so over the past year. We saw that gyms can expand to include online fitness offerings like classes and coaching sessions in addition to the in-person gym experience. Going forward, this feature could complement a gym membership or provide an alternative for those who’d rather stay at home.
The pandemic opened up new ways for gyms to do business. An example is a gym that developed online hubs to provide interactive teaching with a social component rather than one-sided video or streaming sessions. On the bright side, this kind of approach could help your gym reach more people than those in your building’s vicinity, while also reaching locals in person. Another example is gyms running outdoor classes.
Other ways gyms rose to the challenge of last year was by becoming more inclusive to more people and becoming a hub to bring together and help the surrounding community.
These are just some of the positive takeaways from the pandemic. Has your gym seen other bright spots? Please share your experience with us.