Fitness goes digital during COVID-19 crisis

People turning to online workouts after global pandemic forces gym closures.
By Tammy Lovell
03:03 am
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In response to the crisis, a variety of digital offerings have sprung up to ensure people can continue exercise while social distancing.

As efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19, see gyms and sports facilities close throughout Europe, many people can no longer follow their usual exercise routines.

To stay fit and healthy, the NHS advises adults to do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or around 20 to 30 minutes a day, but this may be difficult to achieve while homebound.

In response to the crisis, a variety of digital offerings have sprung up to ensure people can continue exercise while social distancing.

Wearable giant Fitbit announced in a blog post, that it is supporting people during the pandemic by offering 90-day free trials of its Fitbit Premium and Fitbit Coach services. The premium service includes more than 150 workouts, while Fitbit Coach allows users to stream workout videos on phones or computers. 

Meanwhile, online fitness membership, GymCube told MobiHealthNews it was seeing a surge in users. Co-founder and master trainer, Katie Cooke said: “We have certainly seen an increase in users due to social isolation, especially since the closure of gyms. The public are aware of the importance of health and fitness in their daily lives and clearly want to keep up their workout routine.”

Although gyms have been forced to close their doors, many are offering their customers online services instead. UK health club chains, David Lloyd and PureGym are both providing members workouts via their mobile apps, while Nuffield Health is offering workouts via its YouTube channel and wellbeing app.  Virgin Active also announced plans to provide workouts through its social media channels and website.

Children haven’t been left out of the fitness equation either. YouTube fitness trainer Joe Wicks is livestreaming daily “PE with Joe” lessons on his channel, The Body Coach on weekdays. His first class hit more than 2.1 million views.

Wicks said in a blog post: “With the schools closed and with us all spending more time at home it's more important than ever that we keep moving and stay healthy and positive.”

The charity Sport England have also compiled some online resources to help exercise while at home.

WHY IT MATTERS

According to the latest figures from WHO, there are 292, 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 151, 293 in the European region. To slow down the spread of the disease people throughout Europe are being advised to practise social distancing or self-isolation.

THE LARGER CONTEXT 

People have also been turning to digital resources to support good mental health during the pandemic, through online mindfulness courses and apps.

ON THE RECORD  

Fitbit co-founder and CEO, James Park said: “Our thoughts are with all whose lives have been affected by the virus so far. We are continually looking at other ways we can support those in our community and those in need and will keep you updated as things evolve.”

 

 

 

 

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