The COVID-19 pandemic may have forever changed the fitness industry and how we choose to exercise, but it also inspired an important positive change: a heightened awareness of physical and mental health, and the importance of looking after both. While no one can control the ongoing virus and its far-reaching effects, there’s one thing we do have control over – our well-being and the choices we make each day to achieve this state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy.

What that looks like is different for each person, but for many, it involves some form of daily movement – no longer confined to the walls of a gym or fitness studio. With thousands of South Africans terminating their gym memberships and avoiding gyms altogether, more people are now exercising from the comfort and safety of their homes. Before the pandemic took over our lives, the fitness industry was worth more than $800 billion in the United States alone, with gym subscriptions, fitness apparel, and fitness monitors and trackers contributing to the lucrative sector. And while brick-and-mortar fitness businesses like gyms have suffered, it’s encouraging to see that the consumer demand for online fitness is booming.

More personal trainers, studios, and fitness influencers are adapting to this global shift by offering live online workouts, recorded video sessions, one-on-one virtual coaching, and even free YouTube workouts. Mobile fitness apps have become more popular than ever as people seek to continue their health journeys in the comfort of their homes, with a global increase of 46% in fitness-related app downloads during the first half of 2020. In South Africa, AllTrails: Hiking, Running & Mountain Bike Trails, Nutrition fitness, Home Workout – No Equipment, Six Pack in 30 Days, and Lose Belly Fat at Home are the top five free Google Play health and fitness apps. Employers are also coming to the party, subsidising fitness and wellness for their employees.

As the at-home fitness movement skyrockets, the demand for home gym equipment, such as exercise bikes, treadmills, and rowing machines increases, with a massive 170% growth during lockdowns last year. And while those who enjoy the gym culture are slowly returning to their in-person classes and individual training sessions, many of us who have had a taste of a comfortable home exercise environment may never set foot in a gym or fitness studio again.

Home is where the heart (rate) is

Humans are creatures of habit, and since the start of the pandemic, we’ve learnt how to juggle various things at home, squeezing in a quick 30-minute online workout or jog around the block between Teams meetings, client deadlines, and family responsibilities. This is now ingrained in our habits, and it will be difficult to return to the inconvenience of commuting to a crowded gym to use the same machines that everyone else is using. Not to mention ‘gym-timidation’ – feeling self-conscious when working out in front of others – which often prevents us from going to a gym in the first place. Plus, if you don’t have the latest fitness accessories, are less fit, or don’t look like most of the other people in the gym, you may feel unwelcome and judged in this kind of environment.

With our busy schedules and always-on culture of working, renting home fitness equipment saves us from unnecessary time-wasters, like waiting in a queue to use a specific machine or travelling to and from the gym. Because we’re exercising when it suits us and our schedules, we are more likely to actually get that workout in. And as no one else is using our designated equipment (well, except for family members), we don’t have to worry about precautionary sanitisation and the spreading of germs. It’s a win-win for everyone.

A fitness revolution

Before COVID-19 hit, millions of people worldwide weren’t exercising at all. According to Discovery Vitality’s Fittest City Index, in 2018, one in four adults (23%) were not active enough, and 10% of people died from causes related to a lack of physical activity. In South Africa, one in every two adults didn’t move enough, which was more than double the global average – making us one of the most inactive countries in the world.

Counterintuitively, the pandemic got more people to move by forcing them to get creative with more time on their hands at home. While average daily steps were down by 12%, Garmin data revealed that fitness equipment workouts increased more than any other activity in our country, with indoor cardio accounting for 50% of this. Locally and globally, people are finding or rediscovering different kinds of exercise that works for them. Whether that’s daily walking for a clear mind or renting gym equipment to use at home, we now have many options to get fit that don’t involve going to the gym. People are moving towards easier ways to get their heart rate up instead of rigid workout routines.

And research backs this up, illustrating that any regular physical activity lowers our risk of developing chronic diseases, thus increasing our lifespan. If more South Africans start viewing fitness as simply moving their bodies rather than spending hours at the gym, we’d have a much healthier nation, both mentally and physically. Physical activity is a powerful way to take care of our mental wellness, especially during the turbulent, stressful times we are living in.

If anything, the COVID-19 crisis taught us that our health and fitness are precious gifts – ones that we have taken for granted for far too long. It’s also up to us to take charge of our mental and physical well-being today for a healthy, fulfilling future – with or without the pandemic.

Join the Striide revolution today, and be part of the home fitness movement.

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The holidays are notorious for derailing our health and fitness goals. Sleep-in mornings, lack of exercise, and tons of comfort food are the quickest ways for us to fall off the wagon and uproot our usual routine. But there are ways to still enjoy summer and all its festivities without going too far off track. Try to fit these habits into your busy social calendar to ensure you keep moving your goals forward.

Be mindful of what you take in

No one wants to bother with dirty dishes and cooking while on holiday. It’s much easier to order takeout or meet up with friends at a restaurant. And that’s totally fine, as long as you stay mindful of what you eat and drink. Try avoid deep-fried and super-sugary snacks and incorporate real, whole foods on your plate where you can. Alcohol is another huge contributor to overindulging. Once it starts flowing, it becomes so much harder to avoid temptations. Sip on plenty of water at social events and parties in between glasses of bubbly to fill yourself up and stay hydrated.

Try fun activities

If like many South Africans you plan on travelling this holiday, look for fun outdoor activities at or near the resort you plan on staying at. There might be scenic hiking trails, mountain climbing routes, water sports, or horse riding available to help you stay active and away from the buffet. Hit the pool, and don’t be afraid to show off your moves on the dance floor – there’s always an opportunity somewhere to get that heart pumping and limbs moving.

Balance activity and rest

There’s no reason for you to start the new year even more tired than before the holidays. That’s why keeping an eye on the number of hours you rest is so important. While sleeping for eight hours isn’t always possible with a busy social schedule, aim for close to the number of hours you normally would sleep. This may require you to skip out on some of the fun, but physical and mental health should remain a priority, even on holiday.

Exercise at home

Your muscles and waistline will thank you! Because the holidays are mainly a time to relax, it’s understandable that some days you won’t want to leave the house at all. So how do you still get your exercise in? It’s as simple as renting exercise equipment and setting it up anywhere in your home for you and the family to enjoy.

Striide offers gym equipment rentals that cater to your vacations, staycations, and remote-workout needs which means greater versatility, flexibility, and functionality – on your terms. The best part is the budget-friendly pricing structure starting at R599 per month, so there’s no trade-off between expensive exercise equipment and your mental and physical health. But if you want, there is an outright purchase option. You can confidently take life – and the festive season – in your Striide with a fitness routine that fits your lifestyle.

Enlist a partner in crime

The best way to ensure you stick to your health and fitness goals is to tell someone about them. Choose a friend, partner, or someone you’re close with and share your journey. They’ll help motivate you to push through on the days when you’d rather throw in the towel. Even better, get your loved one involved and train together to double the fun and accountability. A little bit of healthy competition could be just what you need to succeed.

With vacations and staycations, long days and short nights, good food and even better company, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and forget about your health and fitness this festive season. However, it’s possible to still keep your goals in check and make memories that will last a lifetime. It all comes down to determination and not swerving too far from your everyday routine. Make this a summer to remember and a time you won’t regret come January.

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For many South Africans, health and fitness is a top priority. Even in the face of a global pandemic, some of us continued to track our steps, raise our heartbeats, and keep up with personal fitness goals. With this in mind, local consumers are being introduced to a first-of-its-kind and proudly South African lifestyle and fitness brand. Striide gives customers the chance to exercise at home, on their own terms, with premium-quality gym equipment rentals. This solution is sure to transform the way we approach exercise and healthy living.

Pandemic workouts and personal preference

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to live a healthy lifestyle, while fundamentally changing the way we work out in South Africa. An international report by McKinsey found that 68% of respondents are prioritising their health more after the onset of COVID-19, and using exercise as a way to deal with stress and take the edge off.

As consumers still want to maintain their fitness, but are concerned about returning to the gym, Striide offers a flexible, at-home fitness solution. Now, you can exercise from the comfort and safety of your own home and reach those summer fitness goals with freedom and peace of mind.

With Striide, cutting-edge gym equipment is available to rent – or purchase – on flexible terms. Choose from a curated selection of products, from treadmills and bikes to rowing machines and dumbbells, and kit out your home with the equipment you actually use. Opt to rent on a monthly basis for a 24- or 36-month period. And, if your workout routine changes or you want to try something new, simply swap out your equipment from six months into your contract and start afresh. The fitness company will also take care of any maintenance or repair issues, so it’s a truly hassle-free experience. With prices starting from R599pm, and outright purchase options too, the fitness solutions are personalised and budget friendly.

Take life in your Striide

In today’s era of modern multitaskers, we’re all striving to move more, do more and be more. With Striide, everyone in the family can make fitness part of their daily routine and incorporate individual exercise into busy schedules. There’s no travel time, no set-up time and – importantly – no wasted time. The solutions prioritise versatility, flexibility and functionality so you can make the most of a tailored fitness journey and confidently take life in your Striide.

There’s never been a better time to get the family moving and make convenient fitness part of your everyday life. Striide is calling on South Africans to prioritise their health, join the Striide revolution today, and be part of a modern fitness movement.

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According to McKinsey, about 62% of global employees consider mental health issues to be a top challenge during the ongoing pandemic, with a higher prevalence in developing countries and among diverse groups. Women, in particular, are more worried about workplace health and safety and mental health and well-being. It’s impressive to see that more employers are rising to the occasion where employees need mental health support, with 96% of global businesses providing additional mental health resources for their staff.

With the spotlight on the well-being of today’s always-on workforce, there is a clear case for local companies to prioritise the physical and mental health of employees. In doing so, organisations can benefit from a more motivated, productive, and resilient team of workers, ultimately leading to business growth and success.

As a first-of-its-kind fitness brand, Striide is revolutionising life on the go for busy South Africans striving to be more, achieve more, and move more. And for business owners and decision-makers looking to empower and support their workforce through targeted well-being solutions, Striide presents an ideal partnership opportunity. By enabling individuals and corporates to rent premium gym equipment on flexible contracts, the fitness and lifestyle disruptor offers an optimal solution for a workforce that’s either working from home, has returned to the office, or is moving towards a hybrid workplace.

Through Striide’s revolutionary rental model, employees and business leaders can exercise whenever they want in the comfort and safety of their own homes and offices with state-of-the-art gym equipment that caters to diverse fitness needs. This translates to striking a good balance between work, play, and physical and mental health by disconnecting from technology, carving out time for mindfulness, and reconnecting with the body. More so, businesses have the option to swap Striide gym equipment after six months without the worry of servicing and maintaining the equipment.

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