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With gyms out of bounds, Indians are stacking up on dumbbells and yoga mats at home

Fitness instructor Fatema Dhoondia exercises inside a gym in Mumbai
Reuters/Hemanshi Kamani
No luxury gyms no more.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter


The Covid-19 outbreak has led to a massive dip in physical activity among Indians as they stayed indoors first due to the government-mandated lockdowns, and then as a precaution.

In April, when India was under a nationwide lockdown, 70% of women and 65% of men were “inactive” or burnt less than 50% of their calorie budget, according to data from health-tech platform HealthifyMe. This was higher than the post-Covid-19 trend when, in February, 52% of women and 44% of men in India were inactive.

“This can be largely attributed to unavailability of gyms and consumer hesitation to visit public places due to fear of contracting infections,” HealthifyMe said.

But increasingly, Indians seem committed to reversing this trend.

Fitness @ home

India’s largest e-commerce portals, Amazon and Flipkart, have seen sales for fitness products growing between two times and 10 times.

“With social distancing becoming the new norm, consumers have turned their home space into a gym keeping their fitness regime intact,” a Flipkart spokesperson said.

On Flipkart, demand is coming from Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Patna, and Lucknow, among other places. Rival Amazon saw demand from even smaller towns such as Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Sircilla in Telangana, Mansa in Punjab, and Karimganj in Assam.

With people embracing the new normal and deliveries being able to move more freely, firms in the country saw demand springing shoot up after the country began lifting the lockdown in June. For instance, for audio and fitness product maker Hammer, sales of fitness bands were 65% higher when the lockdown reopened as compared to what it sold before.

Internet-of-Things is being touted as the next line of defense amid the pandemic, tracking not only a person’s heartbeat and temperatures but also helping with contact tracing.

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