End of gyms? Survey shows 60% of Americans believe fitness clubs will go extinct

NEW YORK — Home gyms may be the only gyms to survive the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey of 2,000 Americans. Respondents were asked about how COVID-19 has changed fitness, both now and in the future, and 60% expressed the belief that shared gyms will never return.

Before COVID-19, it was very common for people to visit their local gym a few times each week. Now three out of four respondents actually find it easier to reach their fitness goals from home.

Many assumed that lockdowns and quarantines would lead to mass weight gain and failed fitness goals. But 63% of respondents feel like they’ve gotten into better shape over the past few months. So, it seems many Americans just don’t think they need a gym membership anymore.

The survey, put together by Freeletics, also notes that 64% of Americans are more interested in home-fitness options and strategies than they ever were in the past. Many people are enjoying more free time due to the pandemic, which is perhaps why respondents report exercising an average of 25% more often than before the coronavirus emerged.

All in all, just under 70% of respondents don’t believe they need a gym membership to reach their fitness goals. More than 50% are planning on cancelling their current membership sometime soon.

Rise of the home gym

But, why are Americans working out so diligently at home? Somewhat surprisingly, 52% said they’ve been keeping up with their fitness goals at home out of pure boredom. Others want to get in better shape (53%) or boost their immune system (43%).

Of course, many Americans have had to shell out some money to equip a new home gym. On average, Americans have spent $95.79 on their home fitness goals/environment over the past three months.

What are Americans buying? Most respondents spent their fitness budget on dumbbells, yoga mats, and resistance bands. Another 25% even bought an exercise bike and 21% purchased a treadmill or elliptical.


Just under three in four (74%) Americans say they’re using quarantine time as an opportunity to try out a fitness app. For over 40% of that group, it’s the first time they’ve ever used any exercise app. In all, the average American has used two fitness apps and taken four online exercise classes since the pandemic began.

It probably didn’t seem like a positive at first, but many people feel like working out at home has been a big help. For example, 65% feel more confident ever since they started their home fitness regimen. Perhaps that’s because people don’t have to worry about comparing themselves to others in public gyms anymore. In fact, 65% of men and 55% of women in the survey say they used to feel intimidated while working out at public gyms.

Finding new ways to keep healthy

What about specific exercises? Regarding exercises they’re performing most often, respondents’ top answer is meditation (34%), then running (32%), walking (31%), yoga (29%), and pilates (24%). Other popular exercises include hiking (21%), outdoor biking (20%), and spinning (19%).

Everyone’s mental health is being tested in 2020, and many Americans fine exercise to be a comfort during these trying times. In all, 72% continue to exercise at home to benefit their mental health (80% of male respondents & 67% of females). Also, 63% now have much more appreciation for meditation and mindfulness nowadays.

A total of 78% of respondents say their mental health is a much bigger priority right now than it was before COVID-19. Similarly, close to 70% have been using exercise as a COVID-19 stress coping mechanism.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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