In a post-pandemic era, exercisers continue to seek convenient, efficient and curated fitness experiences that meet an ever-changing array of interests. This week, I'll discuss some ways the fitness industry has evolved over the past few years and highlight opportunities to capitalize on these changes. Plus, I'll introduce a cool new exercise designed to address the midsection -- which never goes out of style.
In December 2021, Peloton stock reached an all-time high of $162/share. It was the height of the pandemic, and holiday shoppers had spent most of the last 18 months inside their homes. The connected home cycling experience offered a perfect option to an American population that desperately needed physical activity but didn't have access to traditional fitness centers.
Fast forward to today, and one share of Peloton stock is worth about $5.31. Certainly, there have been some marketing bumps in the road, but a decline of this magnitude says more about consumer behavior than a bad commercial. So, what happened?
The world is back to normal, in large part. Traditional fitness centers have reopened, new franchises are opening and exercisers are tired of being at home. People are craving a community experience that's real, not virtual. That doesn't mean that fitness gadgets and technology have gone away. It just means that consumer demand has returned to pre-pandemic levels, so market share is more evenly distributed between technology-first and in-person options.
From the consumer perspective, this market evolution presents an opportunity. There are at least a dozen knockoff versions of the popular Peloton bikes, each with a slightly different "connected" experience. Pricing on the traditional Pelotons has come down, and the alternate bikes can be found for half that cost. Most of the companies also offer trial memberships to the streaming platform, so there are all sorts of deals available for the savvy shopper.
But cycling in place isn't for everyone, and traditional fitness centers will get plenty of action with the New Year approaching. For those looking to tighten up the midsection, this week's exercise is a great option.
Sequential Cable Rotation
1. Adjust a cable pulley to chest height. Attach a single handle to the pulley.
2. Stand to the right of the pulley, and rotate your torso to the left.
3. Grab the single handle with both hands.
4. Now, walk away from the pulley a few feet to take up the slack.
5. From here, keep your arms straight as you rotate the torso.
6. Rotate about a quarter of the way, then go back to the start.
7. Now, rotate about halfway, then back to the start.
8. Finally, rotate the entire distance you can (180 degrees), then back to the start.
9. Turn around and follow the same pattern on the other side.
10. Continue for 2 sets of 5 on each side.
This exercise should be performed very slowly and controlled. In the middle of the set, the exercise starts to feel easy -- but resist the urge to move faster. A deliberate pace will ensure the core muscles are functioning as intended. It's a great exercise to add to the holiday routine, as the next 3-4 weeks tend to be a little challenging from the dietary perspective. So, let's get to work!
Director of business development and population health solutions for Quest Diagnostics, Matt Parrott began this column Jan. 6, 2003, at Little Rock. He loves to hear from readers. Write to him at: [email protected]