Why lots of people aren't going back to the gym after COVID

After a year of home workouts, many people are no longer planning to return to the gym after coronavirus

Working out with gym equipment safely
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For many people, COVID-19 has meant the end of the gym as we know it. As gyms have been forced to shut due to restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, many have closed their doors for good.

People have invested in home workout equipment such as the best cross trainers and have changed the way they work out for the last year. Now the vaccines are beginning to be distributed, is there any going back to the way things were?

Squat jump

(Image credit: Megan Holmes/Unsplash)

Not for a lot of people. One study, published by the folks at running centre RunRepeat, polled 11,193 gymgoers and found worrying news for gyms. According to the study, 27.52% of gym members globally and 34.94% in the US don’t intend on returning, even after being vaccinated. Less than half (48.24%) said they would definitely return after being vaccinated.

It makes sense: having spent a year learning how to work out at home, and equipping ourselves with all the home workout gear we need, some people are likely to see the gym as a waste of money. For people who have bought the best treadmill for their home (or even taken up running instead), there's no need to return to the gym anymore to use their facilities. 

Calisthenics, bodyweight training using moves such as push, ups, squats, pull-ups and dips, are replacing large heavy bench press stations and barbell squat racks. however, lots more people are using the best adjustable dumbbells and best resistance bands, two really versatile training tools which can complement a bodyweight resistance training programme. 


Working out with gym equipment safely

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, those vowing never to return to gyms could be missing a trick. This Harvard University report lists a smorgasbord of advantages of working out at a gym, including access to classes, personal trainers and being around others investing in their physical fitness, which can be extremely motivating. 

Monthly fees are also said in the report to be a "great incentive" to exercise. After all, the philosophy of "you've paid for it, so you might as well use it" has gotten more than one of us to get down the gym.

Are you planning on going back to the gym, or will you be sticking with home workouts? As the vaccination programmes around the world begin to pick up steam, the fitness industry is going to look very different from when the pandemic started at the beginning of 2020.

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.