Gyms in India have opened—but home workouts are keeping Indians happy for now

Mask? Check. Sanitiser? Check.
Mask? Check. Sanitiser? Check.
Image: REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
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It may be awhile before gyms in India can see pre-pandemic crowds.

Even as the government allowed gyms in the country to reopen from Aug. 5 in some states, over 90% of Indians across eight cities have indicated that they are unsure of safety and sanitisation measures at these centers, according to a survey by Gympik, a fitness discovery and booking platform.

Some feel that gyms could do more to give them the confidence to workout in closed spaces without the fear of contracting Covid-19.

Till this fear can be assuaged, Indians have also become rather comfortable with working out at home. As early as July, for instance, the demand for yoga mats and dumbbells had gone up on e-commerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon.

That trend seems to be continuing, according to Gympik’s survey of 50,000 respondents. Virtual classes are a particular favourite and yoga emerges a clear winner.

Live classes also rose in popularity during the pandemic and lockdowns. In 2020, far more Indians are opting for online classes thrice a week than a year ago.

More women seemed to be open to virtual and live classes than men, the survey found.

When asked why they wanted to workout, respondents reported boosting their immunity as the top motivator. This could largely be attributed to a global health crisis and a rising awareness about how Covid-19 impacts those with comorbidities.