Over a year ago, the spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing global pandemic caused the country to go into lockdown, effectively altering our daily lives in every way imaginable. When gyms and fitness centers across the United States shut their doors for the foreseeable future, many of our routines were thrown off balance. We had to find an alternative way to stay in shape while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Some fitness enthusiasts invested in equipment like Peloton bikes and treadmills. Others turned to YouTube for a wealth of at-home workouts they only needed a yoga mat to complete. But due to the massive swell of demand, some staple tools of best home fitness equipment like dumbbells and free weights became scarce. According to a spokesperson from NordicTrack, sales were 600 percent higher last year than in 2019.
What’s the future of at-home fitness?
Now that gyms have reopened and gotten rid of the mask mandate, will people’s fitness regimes return to their pre-pandemic forms? According to Jefferies, traffic at gyms has rebounded to 83 percent of January 2020 levels. That’s certainly the highest attendance has been since the pandemic began.
Though gym memberships are making a comeback, home fitness routines won’t be left by the wayside. Fitness enthusiasts have continued to frequent virtual options such as FlexIt’s virtual personal training, MYXFitness’s group cycling, and FightCamp’s virtual boxing that allow you to work with professionals and personalize your workouts from home or wherever else you may be.
And now we can finally get our hands on the fitness equipment that was in short supply for the majority of last year. Many of us have held onto the at-home fitness equipment we purchased during the pandemic. According to data collected by Xplor Technologies, 49 percent of respondents have free weights at home, 42 percent have resistance bands, and 30 percent have a treadmill. But if you weren’t lucky enough to snag at-home fitness equipment during the pandemic, those high-demand items are now much easier to find.
You can also add at-home exercise and fitness equipment to a regular gym schedule for a hybrid approach. Having options like this can supplement those days when you don’t have time to go to the gym or want to crush a quick ab session without leaving the house. Luckily, we have a wealth of home fitness tools to keep you in shape, whether it’s a 30-minute workout during your WFH lunch break or a full-fledged sweat session in the evening.
What are the benefits of at-home workouts?
Some of us initially dreaded ditching our gyms for at-home routines. But there are benefits to taking an adaptable approach to exercise. You can save money on sometimes pricey memberships. And your at-home setup will always be open. No more missing out on a workout because your gym is closed. Working out in the privacy of your own home can also eliminate the judgment you might feel at the gym. You can get your sweat on whether you’re wearing last night’s pajamas or your favorite workout set. Ultimately, working out at home puts you in control of your fitness and limits excuses for why you couldn’t work out that day.
Whether you’re still on board with an entirely at-home fitness program, want to create a hybrid routine to accommodate a busy schedule, or add some new tools to your next gym session, we’ve got you covered. From fitness bands for a serious pump to free weights that suit any workout, our post-pandemic health is about to level up. Here are our picks for best home fitness equipment.
Best free weights: Amazon Basics Dumbbell Set
Tone from Home
This set of six cast-iron dumbbells can help you amp up your home workouts with a range of weights to keep you challenged.
These colorful neoprene-coated weights are durable, safe, and non-slip, so you can work out without dropping a dumbbell. And the hexagon shape prevents them from rolling away. The set also includes a simple stand so you can easily organize your at-home fitness equipment. With a range of weights to choose from, you can outfit your home gym for both beginners and advanced levels.
Best resistance bands: Fit Simplify
Warming up at the gym or want to get a glute burnout from your living room? These resistance bands are a multipurpose accessory tool that you can add to just about any exercise.
With five resistance levels to choose from and a heavy-duty loop design, these bands suit workout novices to pros. While most people use bands to add resistance while exercising, you can also use these bands during physical therapy. The material is a no-slip rubber, so you don’t need to stress about the bands shifting as you move.
Best yoga mat: Gaiam Essentials
This ultra-thick fitness mat will provide you support and comfort for any workout—whether it’s a morning yoga class or abs from home.
For every yoga, Pilates, or YouTube workout enthusiast, a reliable fitness mat will protect your joints while you exercise. This mat is 2/5 inches thick, so every workout will feel cushioned to prevent any injury or bruises. The included carrier strap also allows you to bring it with you anywhere, whether that be the gym or to the park for an outdoor stretch.
Best treadmill: XTERRA TR150
Get your steps in from the comfort of home with this convenient and affordable treadmill pick.
Running outdoors can come with the complications of carrying your hydration supply, inclement weather, and harsh concrete. You can skip the hassle and run from home with this 16-inch by 15-inch surface that has an all-encompassing speed range of half a mile to 10 miles per hour. Whether you want to get a speed walk in before work or are training for a marathon, this versatile cardio tool is great for any home workout.