Most Kiwis now prefer working out at home to the gym - survey

New Zealand's Covid-19 lockdowns has seen a shift in how people feel about exercising, with most Kiwis now preferring to work out at home more than at the gym.


Clinical psychologist Dr Ruth Jillings says exercise is beneficial for both people's physical and mental wellbeing, and gyms closing due to Covid-19 won't be helping.

According to the latest Habits for Healthy Living report, commissioned by WW, 91 per cent of New Zealanders think working out at home is better than going to the gym.

Of those people, just over a third said it was because they wanted to avoid being exposed to additional germs.

Other key reasons were avoiding working out with other people, being able to fit workouts into their personal schedule better and saving money.

The survey's release comes as an Auckland gym closes for a deep clean after a person who later tested positive for Covid-19 attended.

"Any time there's a resurgence [of Covid-19], like now we've got this small resurgence and it's getting close to home for some people, gyms are closed, it definitely impacts people's anxiety," Jillings told 1 NEWS.

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As well as driving anxiety, shutting down the gyms can kill people's motivations.

According to the survey results, anxiety and stress are the main threat for people breaking their healthy habits, followed by not being able exercise routinely or getting a rough night's sleep.

"If someone's in the habit of going to the gym, all they have to do is get themselves in the door and they're probably going to have a workout," Jillings says. 

"Whereas if you have to motivate yourself to do a workout at home, it is more difficult."

She says the survey results, finding nine in 10 Kiwis prefer working out at home than the gym, are surprising.

"We actually found that what [lockdown] did was it caused people to prioritise their mental health and to be creative and resilient about the ways they were doing it," she says.

"So they were finding other ways to exercise instead of going to the gym."

Some gyms and personal trainers have adapted by holding online classes or distributing videos to their members; during the first lockdown, TVNZ broadcast exercise classes daily.

The survey was conducted in August and nationally representative sample of 1030 Kiwis over 18 were polled, with the data then weighted to reflect population, the researchers say.

It was carried out by Perspective, an independent research agency, and commissioned by WW.