Although the majority of the gyms in the U.S. are reopening, a lot about the experience of exercise in communal spaces has changed. Many people who were once avid gym-goers have been working out at home for months while others abandoned their routines altogether.

As of this writing, more than half (55%) of U.S. adults report being comfortable immediately returning to a gym or fitness center.

In August of last year, 63% were not comfortable returning to the gym for six or more months. At that time, 22% were new owners of exercise equipment and 8% were intending to purchase some. As Q2 2021 comes to a close, the numbers are within only a few percentage points of where they were one year ago.

Intenders are the most likely to say they won’t be comfortable hitting the gym for six or more months, implying that they anticipate an at-home exercise routine for the foreseeable future.

One factor that could be fueling a return to gyms and continued interest in home exercise equipment could be the fact that 39% of U.S. adults say they are heavier now than they were before the pandemic. 

People who say they are heavier now are the least ready to go back to the gym. Seventy-two percent of this segment said they won’t be comfortable for four or more months.

Those who have put on weight have a high probability of having kids. Parents report having gained more weight than non-parents and grandparents during the pandemic, but they over-index in readiness to immediately return to the gym when it opens. 

So, will Americans be sweating it out at the gym, or not? While the importance of health and fitness activities has seen a slight decline, people are still exercising and looking at home gyms or feeling ready to go back to their fitness center. Parents are very likely to have gained weight during the pandemic but are extremely anxious to burn off the extra pounds as soon as possible.