Throwback Thursday: The changing face of exercise

During the pandemic, a set of exceptional circumstances completely overhauled the way that people exercised. My colleague Nick Campbell summed up our thinking at the time, questioning how the exercise landscape would change.

The changing face of exercise: how tech is changing the way we move – The Value Engineers

Traditional gyms and sports facilities closed their doors at a time when one of the few things people could still enjoy was exercise—this forced change. In the way that people exercised and the products and brands they interacted with. Whilst home workouts, tracking apps, and personal fitness devices existed previously, the pandemic increased their usage meteorically.

Two years on and we’ve seen people using the gym at a roughly pre-pandemic level. But what’s changed?

While fitness tracking apps and wearable devices have remained prevalent, gym goers now exercise differently and have adjusted their expectations of the gym. As consumers saw that traditional classes can be replaced with free YouTube videos and that a gym membership can be replaced with at-home workouts, their expectations of value have changed.

However, the allure of the gym was also confirmed to them. The gym has always provided users with the equipment they cannot access at home, a physical space to escape into the ritual of exercise, and a community of like-minded gym goers [1]. These factors were often missing from at-home workouts and their value has been reaffirmed to consumers.

The pandemic led consumers to reassess what was important to them, it was a circuit break for their relationship with traditional workout methods and exposure to new exercise possibilities.

Consumers now have an enlightened perspective on value, and fitness brands compete with a broader suite of propositions. Brands must therefore offer their informed consumers a more flexible comprehensive fitness offering.

The dust has settled, and consumers’ exercise habits have begun to stabilize, but have digital and physical fitness brands updated their offerings to suit consumers’ evolved needs?

By: Ed Bowden

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