The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to pose numerous challenges and restrictions on society, and governments all around the world have taken various steps in order to mitigate the risks of the virus spreading within the community. Nonetheless, a survey of almost 4,000 fitness-loving respondents¹ across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand say that Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions haven’t stopped them from getting their fitness fix. They’ve been keeping up with their fitness through a hybrid approach – virtual classes and online programming when they can’t get to the gym, and at the gym when they can.
Commenting on the overall survey findings, Simon Flint, Chief Executive Officer, Evolution Wellness Group² said, “We’re pleased with the results of the survey which show us that despite the disruptive nature of the various lockdowns and restrictions across the region specifically with regard to gyms and fitness facilities, 90% of respondents continued to find ways to stay committed to their fitness regime. 65% said they participated in online fitness programmes such as our live classes and on-demand workouts, and would continue to do so post-Covid. This clearly shows that a certain demand for hybrid fitness offerings is here to stay, and fitness providers will need to think about catering to this demand as well as being able to provide quality content.”
While frequency of exercise suffered a slight dip compared to pre-lockdown restrictions, 39% of respondents say that they are still exercising between three to four times a week. Nonetheless, they report feeling less satisfied with the experience of working out at home due to the lack of the right fitness equipment (51%), lack of motivation (48%), and lack of a motivating environment (40%). Just 50% of respondents report feeling highly satisfied with their workouts at home, compared to 83% of gym-goers pre-Covid. They’ve also been forced to shift from having very specific fitness goals and motivating routines such as losing weight and gaining strength, to just aiming for overall wellbeing during this time and ‘getting some form of exercise’.
All things considered, 60% of respondents say they can’t wait to get back to working out in the gym and will do so as soon as conditions permit.
“When ‘normal’ life resumes as a result of delivered vaccines reaching a critical mass, our hypothesis is that some members will revert to the same patterns as before, with a preference for their gym community and social experience. Others will mix and match with both gym and at-home solutions for their fitness needs,” Flint continued.
Health experts have predicted that obesity could increase the risk of Covid-19 infection by seven fold³, so it’s no surprise that respondents say they will place a greater focus on their health and wellness, not just presently but also well after the threat of Covid-19 has passed. However, given the uncertainties in the short term, up to 50% say they’re looking at ways to reduce discretionary spend, including cutting down on holidays, eating out, social activities, and gym memberships.
As for members or individuals who may be reluctant to resume their in-gym workouts, a number of studies globally⁴ as well as from Evolution Wellness’s own data⁵ suggest that gyms can be safe spaces to exercise provided staff and members alike adhere to the prescribed health and hygiene protocols, including wearing a mask.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Evolution Wellness introduced a set of protocols aimed at mitigating the risks of contracting the virus across its network of clubs in Asia, including increasing the frequency of cleaning, providing hand sanitizers and additional disinfectant sprays, implementing appropriate social distancing, asking members to ensure they wear a mask when arriving and departing, wiping down equipment with disinfectant before and after use, and introduced new mobile apps to facilitate member bookings and club capacity.
For Evolution Wellness Group, besides continuing to operate Asia’s largest network of health clubs across its existing six markets, it’s committed to improving its reach and depth through attracting new customers to engage with its brands for the first time digitally, as well as seeking greater engagement with existing customers through the introduction of new tools and services, such as Virtual Studio and Virtual PT⁶.