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Explosion of lockdown-induced home gyms in NZ

Richard Beddie. Supplied image.

The first covid lockdown last year caught most people by surprise, but the inevitability of more lockdowns, especially in Auckland, has resulted in home gyms becoming more popular than ever before, ExerciseNZ says. 

While the home gyms are widespread among New Zealand’s active, 95 per cent of people recently surveyed showed those with home gyms still keep their gym memberships.

ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says this is despite the virtual exercise programme offerings from many activity operators.

This includes everything from the super-polished Les Mills On Demand to thousands of smaller gyms, studios and trainers’ free or low price offerings on Zoom and Facebook live.

“The good news is that 2020 showed us that once open, members of exercise facilities do return to gyms, as they provide much more than just the equipment. This is just like getting coffee from a local café. It isn’t just about having someone make you coffee,” Beddie says.

“Gym-goers are still using their personal trainers’ advice and support during lockdown.

“Many trainers report that clients continue to want to get assistance through lockdown. They have their programmes modified to fit their new lockdown environment of working out at home. 

“In business-as-usual times, home gyms lack the expert exercise guidance, but with the help from a trainer on Zoom, support isn't far away during lockdown.

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern regularly talks about the benefits of exercise. We also know home gyms are much better kitted out in 2021 than they were in 2020.

“I have my own home gym. As a former gym owner, I even have a bench that’s now older than I am, along with some new equipment that only became mainstream after selling my gym, such as a home vibration unit, along with the standard stuff weights, suspension trainer and a chin up bar.”

Gym member visit rates bounced back to 95 per cent of pre-covid within three months of the last lockdown and in June this year the industry was back to 100 per cent, Beddie says.

As a permitted activity during lockdown, home gyms or near home activity are one of the few things ExerciseNZ encourages people to get into.

About one in five Kiwis have a home gym of some sort and more than a third of all Kiwis do some sort of exercise at home, ExerciseNZ’s major consumer survey earlier this year showed.

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