Not many industries are as fast-paced and ever-changing with trends as the fitness industry. As businesses around the country began to transition to a work-from-home setting, gyms were forced to be creative, finding ways to still appeal to their clientele from a distance. Tyler Williams, School of Health Professions faculty member, used the transition as a learning opportunity for his health sciences students.
Students enrolled in Williams’ exercise program course were challenged to utilize items from within their home to create dynamic at-home exercise demonstrations.
“One of the biggest fitness challenges during the period of social distancing was identifying resistance exercises that could be performed at home and continue to build upon one’s fitness level,” said Williams. “From the beginning, we saw a variety of responses within the fitness industry. I wanted my students to contemplate how they would respond.”
From utilizing tables and chairs to jugs of tea or a case of soda, the students were truly creative in finding household items that could build upon exercise movements and target all areas of the body. Together, the students compiled a robust list of bodyweight or creative resistance exercises able to be performed from any location.
Each student created a demonstration video of themselves providing a 60 second or less instruction on how to correctly perform the exercise, offering modifications and tips for maximizing results.
“The fitness industry has seen significant changes in response to the world-wide lockdowns and I’m not sure that the online delivery of fitness will ever be the same,” said Williams. “While the online delivery of fitness isn’t new, it has grown exponentially in 2020. People have become more comfortable with the online format.”
According to Business Insider, virtual fitness company Peloton saw a 66% revenue increase from last year. Additionally, orders for fitness equipment like kettlebells and dumbbells increased by 535% during the COVID-19 pandemic according to Adobe Digital Economy Index; in comparison, fitness equipment sales increased by 70% during the same period in 2019.
On top of stretching his students’ thought process and skill, Williams is excited to offer the virtual exercise options to the community. Williams oversees the School of Health Professions SamFit Community Testing program, a health, fitness and performance assessment service available to individuals in the metro Birmingham area. The student exercise demonstrations are now offered as one of many of the program’s resources.