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NEW YORK — Are Americans freeing themselves from their gym memberships? Two in three people say the pandemic has made them realize a gym isn’t actually necessary for them to stay fit.

A new survey of 2,000 people who regularly exercise is revealing how the pandemic has impacted the nation’s relationship with fitness. Researchers find Americans engaging in new at-home workouts are also seeing things improve in the bedroom. Nearly one in five respondents agree that keeping up with a workout routine at home has led to better sex during lockdown.

Work(out) from home

Another perk of at-home workouts is finding some peace and quiet. The vast majority (85%) say their new routines have allowed them to find time for themselves away from the family. Three-quarters feel that the past year isolating indoors has allowed them to reconnect with their bodies and improve their self-confidence. Another 81 percent add working out at home has also positively affected this.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AI fitness app Freeletics, the survey also finds more Americans are finding it easier to maintain an at-home fitness routine now compared to last year (82% vs. 72% in 2020). Despite many gyms closing due to COVID, 78 percent of the poll believe fitness has actually become more accessible to them over the past year.

The results also reveal more Americans believe gyms will actually become a thing of the past due to the pandemic; up to 72 percent in comparison to 60 percent in 2020’s survey.

Freedom and flexibility are big home workout perks

Respondents say the top benefits of working out at home include feeling more confident to try new fitness activities (48%), flexibility to work out whenever (48%), and flexibility on the activities they can do (46%). Nearly four in 10 respondents add they have more motivation to work out since they started exercising at home.

Over half of those surveyed say their top motivating factor to work out at while at home is improving their overall health. Boosting energy levels and improving mental health, both at 50 percent, follow closely behind. Nearly eight in 10 people (78%) agree that their mental health has become more of a priority since the start of the pandemic. Another 86 percent plan to keep prioritizing this once the pandemic ends.

“Over the last year, we have experienced once more the huge importance of physical and mental wellbeing and how positive routines that holistically support both can act as a catalyst for physical and emotional self-preservation,” says Vicky Hallbauer, CMO at Freeletics, in a statement. “It is imperative that we continue to use exercise as a tool to boost mental and physical health – not only until the pandemic ends, but also well into the future.”

Parents are looking to set a good example

Covid Fitness ImpactThirty-five percent of respondents also shared that a key reason for working out at home during this time is so they can keep up with their kids. Seventy-eight percent of respondents with children (just over 1,500) shared they started taking their fitness and overall health more seriously once they had their children. Four in five respondents with little ones also said it’s important for them to show their kids how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Of those who want to have more children (approximately 900 respondents), a whopping 93 percent  want to take time to get in better shape and improve their overall health so they’re healthy enough to take care of their future kids. For the women who want to have children in the future (approximately 400 respondents), 91 percent believe having a healthy future pregnancy is the top benefit of exercise.

“It’s a very positive sign that many women already recognize the benefits of regular exercise when it comes to future pregnancy, as some may shy away from physical activity as a precaution” says Dr. Kian Missaghi, Senior Training Experience Manager at Freeletics. “However, if women exercise before conception in alignment with medical advice, many will find that they can safely continue with physical activity throughout their pregnancy for even more benefits – a perfect setup for long-term healthy lifestyles for both mother and child.”

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