The year 2020 has seen a tremendous boom in fitness Apps world over! With gyms and fitness clubs shut down, no outings or outdoor activities of any kind and the work from home in full force, staying fit and sane is a Herculean task!
This is even more so for women. WFH has increased the workload for women multifold. Children, parents, husband, siblings - depending on the family set up everybody is putting pressure and demands on her. Hitherto certain workloads like caretaking, childcare ,part of shopping and medical visits were outsourced. Now most of them unavailable and those that are available is glitchy and on uncertain terrain. The woman, the decision maker, has to take on all these additional roles in addition to what she was doing. In the midst of this mayhem, where does fitness fit into her schedule ?
Initially fitness was the first item to be given a go-by. But its consequences started telling on the physique and psyche of women and the family members. Realization started dawning that something had to be done physically and mentally to stay fit and sane.
The fitness app industry jumped on this! Credit to the industry, they have taken full advantage of the situation and acted fast. So, it is interesting and worthwhile to know how they have boomed , what they are offering, how to go about it and select what we want in a nutshell. There are hundreds of them on the net and honestly, it is too confusing.
Among the fitness Apps and downloads, biking and running are the most popular. Globally cyclists have logged 8.1 billion miles with 400 billion feet of elevated gain in 2020 on the Strava app alone!! Runners have added 1 .5 billion feet of climbing. and nearly 2 billion miles of running. These are only the logged ones. May be out there more millions have been made especially in countries where such things are not tracked or logged in!!
The prime spot however is retained as always by walking, across all age groups. Unfortunately, no statistics will be able to substantiate that. It is known and accepted that it is the most popular activity and no one in their senses will doubt it.
As for commerce, apart from the business apps, exercise equipment sales have soared by 190% according to a trade estimate, the most famous company Peloton has said its sales have doubled to more than 2 million.
From treadmills to jump ropes and yoga mats everything connected with exercise has seen a tremendous surge in sales. In countries like India, Mexico, Philippines ,Brazil and a host of others where small shops and manufacturers dot the market, affordable repaired, remodified and such ones are seeing the light of the day.
While we all agree that being fit is important, the question is how. And where. While we may complain about the closure and cleanliness levels of gyms, honestly how many of us are regular gum goers? Even pre-pandemic. Think of it , one disadvantage with gyms is you have to work around their schedule while digital fitness allows you to do it at your convenience and in your familiar environment. While many like the group environment and even made friendships there, it is still an effort, and not accessible/ affordable to all.
Home fitness seems to be the answer to this! But not in a passive, solo workout, but with an app, a trainer on video, getting results as you are working out and setting difficulty levels based on your ability. Interactive solo workouts, if you may!
In the 80s when I was visiting London, I remember seeing Diana Moran the Green Goddess ( so called for her green leggings) on the Breakfast show. She began her fitness show by saying “Up off your chairs and lift those feet of yours”. As a TV announcer, a breast cancer survivor now in her 80s has come back on request to motivate seniors to stay active !If that be so, what of the youngsters, middlies, sub seniors and what other categories of us waiting for?
Yet another friend of mine, in her 70s now, remembered the late great Ramma Bans, often called India’s Jane Fonda. Bans, who passed away over a decade ago at 86, was a big promoter of mind-body fitness as well as yoga for women. A pioneer, she started India’s first health and wellness club in 1962 and her TV appearances were highly coveted, given that TV itself was a rarity in 1970s India! “All these people do not hold a candle to Bans’, she said, adding that Bans inspired regular women to be extraordinary and made it look like anyone can have a terrific body.
In this context I would like to bring to the notice of our readers about the celebs posting their work outs and diets. This has become a sort of fashion statement and is fashionable for people to watch. Many follow them do it themselves and post it alongside on their accounts. Cynics dub them as popularity gimmick. But you cannot rule out the fact that it has caught on, esp. the challenges- it is fun to see celebs poke one another and see if we can best them!
I decided to brighten up my day and actually ask some regular folks. I called a bunch of my walking friends and their daughters, to ask them about this celeb workout + social media posting situation. Most of them did not find anything wrong with it! ‘She may be a movie star, but she is my age, she is also a mother of 2 or three kids, if she can do it I can at least try the easy ones if not the equipment aided ones’, said one woman in her late 30s. Others chimed in with similar thoughts, although most were not in favor of the healthy food videos. Most felt they were either too tedious to make and clean or had ingredients you have to special order.
Many have said their families felt proud that they were logging into this kind of celeb work outs! Teen kids I found were most shocked to see their moms able to do things the celebs did. While not admitting it openly, and rolling their eyes, some moms found their kids being more accommodative, downloading apps to keep track of hydration levels and casually sitting watching and helping their mom instead of shutting themselves in their rooms!
It was amusing for me to hear all this, and I hope these celebs and influencers realize the impact they have on regular folk and be responsible in what they preach.
At the end of it all , gyms, apps none of them are a panacea, you doing the fitness exercises or yoga is. Remember that. And you must find your sweet spot, so to say- to decide what works for you. Think as you try out each new work out and see if you like it. But also, persist a few times to see if it sticks. Sometimes, first impressions could be wrong!
A word of caution in all this. Not all Apps are hundred percent scientifically done. See it again and again before trying. Nobody knows your body like you. Apps also tell you this, consult your doctor before taking on any new exercise activity.
After reading this article, let us hope at least a few of you are motivated. Comment below and let me know, this would be the highest reward for me. Get going, get fit, stay fine. Stay safe!