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Coronavirus 'will profoundly impact how we consume fitness': Women's Health top editor

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

More Americans may be flocking to at-home online workouts now that several major U.S. cities have mandated that gyms temporarily close their doors due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

This new trend “will profoundly impact how we consume fitness” in the long-term, Liz Plosser, Women's Health Editor-in-Chief, told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move on Friday.

“We had already seen at Women’s Health that streaming fitness and these virtual fitness options whether it's the Peloton (PTON) bike or the Mirror or various apps that people use, are on the rise,” she added, referring to the popular stationary bike that offers virtual spin classes and a “mirror” that streams fitness classes on-demand.

Wall Street Analysts also seem to be running with the idea of at-home workouts, specifically Peloton. On Tuesday, Wedbush Securities added the Peloton Interactive to its “best ideas list.” In a note, James Hardiman, Wedbush Securities analyst, said, “We are at the very early stages of the ‘work-in’ trend, a long-term shift toward at-home fitness products and services.”

Peloton instructor Ally Love is pictured giving a class. Photo credit: Peloton

The exponential spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the U.S., may have expedited this long-term shift. As of Saturday morning, the U.S. had 19,624 confirmed cases of COVID-19. And as The New York Times pointed out on Friday, as more states lock down to stem the spread of the illness, soon one in five Americans will be forced to stay inside. And many of them will want to exercise.

“This is definitely a topic on everybody’s minds right now, as we are spending more and more time in our homes. I think, for a lot of Americans, going to the gym, or taking a boutique fitness class, or running with a group of friends in a jogging group, is just part of their daily ritual and healthy lifestyle. And suddenly those options are no longer available,” she said.

As a result, she said, personal trainers are finding creative ways to reach their existing clients through either Facebook (FB) or Instagram — and even finding a new audience of potential exercisers who are stuck at home.

“It's putting fitness in the hands of all of these influencers and turning them into their own production studios where they can offer up fitness,” Plosser told Yahoo Finance.

Still, after this crisis abates, Plosser believes some Americans will return to exercising with other humans — at least some of the time.

“We will absolutely be craving those communities and connections and real-life interactions, the music, the high fives that you get in a fitness class, the energy in a live workout that's not quite the same when you're doing it in front of a screen at home,” Plosser said. “I think we'll have a new respect and love for the joy of working out together.”

Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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