It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to figure out that people are staying home more often during the COVID-19 crisis. Most of us are going out only long enough to do some basic shopping and, if need be, go to work. We are even avoiding exercising outside of the home.
Common sense suggests that COVID-19 is one of the driving forces behind a sudden interest in indoor exercise. As gyms and sports complexes around the world have closed to the public, those who would otherwise have used them find themselves having to work out at home. As such there is a new interest in workout equipment as well.
Take indoor cycling, for example. One UK-based cycling studio recorded a 110% increase in web sessions during March, with total sales activity up by 250%. April’s web sessions increased by 300% while total sales were up 350%.
A New Appreciation for Indoors
Indoor cycling has been a strong competitor against its outdoor counterpart for some time now. Yet it has failed to gain the upper hand. Outdoor cyclists often deride the indoor sport as being disingenuous or lacking authenticity. Indoor cyclists have countered with explanations of how modern indoor bikes can be programmed to simulate outdoor riding.
As the debate rages, a new appreciation for indoor cycling has emerged. Cyclists who previously battled everything from weather to aggressive animals find that the indoor experience is less stressful. But that’s just the start. Indoor cyclists are also showing new appreciation for organized classes that challenge them in a way outdoor cycling cannot.
It is Not Just Peddling
Cycling studios these days go to great lengths to make sure customers understand that what they do is not just peddling a bike. Anyone can sit on a stationary bike and make the pedals go around. Indoor cycling classes go way beyond such basic activity.
At Mcycle Studios in Salt Lake City, Utah, indoor cycling classes combine energetic music, cardio, full body movement, and all the necessary motivation provided by an experienced trainer. Mcycle promises students a full body workout that takes their minds off everything else.
Cycling studios around the world now rely on trained professionals to give customers targeted workouts. Studios have trainers who specialize in advanced classes alongside other trainers who work well with beginners. Some studios even offer a variety of music selections that cater to different preferences.
Outside of the Studio
It is true that some outdoor cyclists forced indoors by the COVID-19 pandemic are not into cycling classes. They would rather be outside, riding through the countryside or traversing the city center. Though they are a bit harder to please indoors, there are solutions for them as well.
Outdoor cyclists can download apps that, when connected to their bikes, can simulate real outdoor rides. The best among them include video that can be displayed on a mobile or desktop screen. Riding this way is not nearly as exhilarating as the real thing, but it offers an adequate substitute for as long as the cyclist is stuck indoors.
No matter where you stand on the indoor cycling issue, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is driving a new interest in indoor exercise. If it’s not cycling, people are looking at indoor rowing and running. They are embracing swimming, calisthenics, free weights, and anything else they can manage to get their hands on.
The question is whether or not exercise will return to the great outdoors once the pandemic subsides. Many will undoubtedly embrace outdoor exercise again. But it is quite possible that others will stick with the great indoors.