As COVID-19 Drives Mass Social Distancing, Home Gym Equipment Is in High Demand

Proof that not everyone plans to be a couch potato.

It’s been unsettling to witness the run on grocery stores that’s left empty shelves where rolls of toilet paper and bottled water used to be. But now, an even stranger phenomenon is proving that life as we know it has changed dramatically. I’m talking about the run on home gym equipment.

In communities across the country (and the world), storefronts, restaurants and entertainment venues that are normally packed have closed for business in response to COVID-19 mandates. At the same time, local gyms have also closed, leaving those who rely on them to fend for themselves.

From weight-lifting aficionados to soul cycle addicts, those of us who are used to exercising on a daily, or almost daily, basis are looking for alternatives. As someone who has lifted weights at the gym almost every day for the last 30 years, I know I am. I immediately started having withdrawal symptoms from the mere thought of being distanced from the bench press and squat racks, which is exactly why I found myself at a Dick’s Sporting Goods a few days ago.

To my surprise (and horror), I wasn’t the only one there that day with the goal of creating a pop-up home gym. All of the weight racks were nearly empty. EMPTY!! The clerk at Dick’s broke the news—they had sold $37K worth of gym equipment in one day!

While I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing, in my heart I understood. I’m not the only fitness junkie in the world. In fact, I was there with my daughter who relies on her gym membership just as much as I do.

So, while much of America is on the couch eating junk food and streaming Netflix, we are all out there doing what we can to fill the void over the last few days, I was able to track down a few barbells here, a weight bench there. But I have a way to go to realize the entirety of my home-gym dream.

Consumers like me are exactly why Peloton stock has continued to go up even as the S&P 500 index goes down. It’s why craigslist is swarming with people trying—and suddenly succeeding—at selling their unused home gym equipment. And it’s why buying so much as a basketball on Amazon can feel like a competition.

For many of us, keeping our bodies in shape is the ultimate freedom, and I guess there’s no way to quarantine fitness!

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