It was a year of disappointments. Here’s how it played out for fitness freaks. Presenting, 2020 in fitness
It’s been a tumultuous year for everyone. Most industries have been hit badly but almost none has been hit as badly as the fitness industry. With gyms and yoga classes being shut for most part of the year, fitness has taken a backseat in most people’s lives. At a time when working out and releasing of those endorphins was most needed, pools, workout classes, and gyms have been firmly shut.
However this has resulted in the emergence of intriguing new trends. Working out has never been so challenging and simultaneously interesting as it has been this year. Here are the five fitness trends of 2020.
1. Online fitness classes
As soon as the lockdown began, fitness chains such as Cult Fit immediately switched to online fitness classes to keep their clients engaged and fit. The classes were mostly pre-recorded with some live sessions thrown in too. “But even if you weren’t a member of Cult Fit, you were likely to look up workouts on YouTube which saw a considerable surge in the number of users looking up fitness videos,” Teel who did personal sessions for his clients.
2. Outdoor activities
Paradoxically, the pandemic also drove people out of their homes. After the initial fear of catching the virus waned, people began to venture out of their houses. With the gyms still shut, outdoor activities became more popular. The neighbourhood parks began to see more footfall and games like badminton and tennis that could be played while maintaining social distancing started becoming more and more popular. “Another reason why outdoor activity began to gain traction was the frustration of sitting at home. Being cooped in flats wasn’t helping anyone and the moment the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, people began stepping out for fresh air,” he says.
This was also one of the big reasons why cycling has seen a renewed interest among people in the cities. Until early this year, the sport was restricted to a select bunch of people. But the cycling industry has seen a boom like never before. After the lockdown, Hero Cycles, India’s largest cycle manufacturer has seen an almost 50 per cent jump in demand for regular cycles and about 100 per cent growth in electric cycles. Imported cycles, whose entry prices tend to be between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000, also saw a massive demand. Four of the top imported bike companies in India – Giant, Merida, Scott, and Trek – saw their warehouses empty out in a matter of months. Cycling is yet another activity that can be practiced while maintaining social distancing and while enjoying fresh air.
High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT has seen a renewed interest during the lockdown. To be fair, HIIT isn’t a new phenomenon. However it’s the one workout that can be easily adapted for a home workout sesh. “HIIT is also the most efficient way to lose those kilos you put on during the lockdown while staying away from the gym. Which is also why the workout has made a comeback in a big way in 2020,” Teel says.
Right up until the ‘80s and a good part of the ‘90s, yoga was largely considered old people’s workout. Yoga classes were mostly populated with middle-aged people and senior citizens. But the new millennium and globalisation, introduced us to varied forms of yoga – power yoga, hot yoga, etc. Yoga stopped being a calming practice and rather became a way to burn calories, lose weight and look great. 2020 has in some ways seen the return of the yoga of yore. Reports have pointed to more people turning to traditional yoga practices to find peace and stability in these turbulent times. Mindfulness is at the heart of all yoga practice and that’s the one thing we’ve all sought in a year of instability and chaos.