Personal Wellness

Digital Fitness And In-Person: The Future Of The Fitness Ecosystem

Mar 10, 2021
Last Updated May 8, 2024

When you’re craving sushi, you can go a couple of routes to get it. You can press a few buttons on your phone and have it delivered, you can go to your favorite local spot and eat it there, or you can even make it at home. The same holds true with ordering art for your apartment, or getting a gift for a friend. We live in a time full of digital opportunities, but we also get (and crave!) many IRL experiences, too. 

This has become increasingly the case when it comes to fitness.

The future of fitness can be summed up with one simple statement: digital fitness and in-person fitness are both beloved, both have huge value, and as we move forwards, will happily coexist to form an inclusive and exciting fitness ecosystem. 

Let’s talk about the benefits of digital fitness 

Maybe you’ve been using online fitness resources for years, or maybe it’s something you’ve ventured into for the first time this past year. Either way, if you’ve tried digital fitness, you’ve probably found something that works for you and your needs.

These are the key benefits we have seen so far:

Gymtimidation 

It’s real.Not everybody feels comfortable walking into a gym, and this can be a serious barrier to working on your physical health. Digital options, however, help break this barrier down; for those who are self-conscious or are just getting started, a class or PT session from the comfort and privacy of home can be a welcome relief. In a series of interviews conducted by Wellhub, we found that 35% of people who were new to exercising as a whole were most interested in taking classes online. A study by Mindbodyyielded similar findings, with 56% of respondents sharing that getting in better shape would actually lower their gym/studio intimidation – another benefit that digital options can provide. 

Location

Local access to high-quality fitness studios is not always a given, so taking things digital means everyone has access to top trainers, leading brands, and typically unattainable one-to-one support, regardless of where they live. Digital options bring premium offerings to an audience not previously possible geographically. 

Convenience

We very quickly transitioned from days spent out-and-about to days (many days) spent working and operating entirely out of our homes. This also meant not passing a regular gym on the way into work, or needing to squeeze in workouts strictly before or after work. We saw, at Wellhub, the rise of the 10 a.m. workout – perhaps a way to break up the morning after logging a few WFH hours. 

We also saw a rise in the popularity of shorter workouts – think 20-30 minutes in duration – as a more convenient way to integrate a workout into a work-from-home schedule. 

In these instances, being able to hop into a class right from the comfort of home opened up a world of convenience. 

Filling in the missing pieces

A recent study by keepmefound that digital solutions are most commonly being used to complement an existing fitness routine vs. replicate in-person experiences. 

They wrote, “I am more likely to choose a digital offering that supplements my on-site activities with a variation, or indeed something completely different, rather than a digital version of the on-site product. If I attend the gym for group cycling and strength training, what I want from a digital subscription is stretching, yoga, meditation.”

And, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the top activities that trended in 2020 across many countries were yoga, HIIT, pilates, and barre. These activities, often requiring little equipment, lend themselves nicely to a well-rounded, at-home workout regimen.   

This opens an opportunity to have a more well-rounded fitness experience than ever possible before, with a wealth of available digital fitness options to fill in the gaps of any routine.  

Why IRL fitness and digital solutions make for a perfect ecosystem

If you’ve ever visited a gym or taken classes at a studio, this one should be obvious to you; the camaraderie, the equipment, even the act of getting out of the house means that in-person fitness isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

However, the boom of digital fitness actually presents opportunities for in-person fitness companies as well. By innovating to incorporate digital options, fitness brands can broaden their horizons, be introduced to customers they may never have otherwise, and open up additional revenue streams.  

This very fusion of online and offline solutions is what will make for a more robust fitness ecosystemgoing forward, where those new to fitness will have unprecedented access and regular fitness lovers will be able to reach levels they may have previously thought impossible. 

It isn’t just gyms and consumers that will benefit from this emerging ecosystem. The opportunities for digital-first fitness companies is clear here too. Apps like Sudorinnovate by connecting their client base with sought-after trainers in a wide variety of specialities, and fitness professionals like personal trainersnow have the ability to work with more clients than ever before regardless of location.     

Digital fitness and in-person fitness are not at odds – they are in harmony. Wellhub has been and will continue to be rich with resources of all kinds to help you find fitness at home, in-person, or anywhere you find yourself, and that’s one trend that will always be in style. 

The future of fitness is bright, and you won’t want to miss out on the variety of digital and in-person options offered on Wellhub. Get started today and see for yourself! 


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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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