Fitness is often a topic of conversation around the new year. But where and how Americans choose to work out has evolved over the past several years.
From 2019 to 2020–a time that we might now consider the early stages of the pandemic–working out several times a week increased. However, after that initial surge, interest in working out stabilized and then decreased, essentially returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Unsurprisingly, working out in a gym initially decreased from 2019 to 2020, with widespread gym closures potentially fueling this trend. This number has failed to bounce back fully in 2021.
Today, more than a third of U.S. adults say they are most likely to work out in their home this year, followed by exercising outside. Just 16% indicated a gym or studio will be their go-to.
As the data show, interest in returning to a gym or fitness studio skews towards adults aged 18-24, with those aged 25 to 34 showing stronger likelihood as well Gen Xers represent a strong percentage of outdoor fitness-goers. And while women are more likely to work out at home than men are, men prefer the great outdoors or the gym.
COVID exposure or diagnosis seems to decrease concerns of working out with others indoors, with those who have been exposed or diagnosed with the virus more comfortable in a gym or fitness studio setting.
Gyms and fitness studios may also serve a social need, as those who are working remotely are the most likely to be working out in a gym or studio this year.
What’s not surprising is that those who plan to workout at home have prioritized new exercise equipment. But what is somewhat surprising is that those who plan to workout in a gym or studio are the most likely to have plans to buy new equipment.
So as we look into 2022, it’s clear that while some exercisers are ready to return to gym and studio fitness, at-home fitness is here to stay…at least for now.