Pointless & Personal

Why the pandemic caused a surge in fitness for women of a certain age–what this fitness pro is hearing from women over 50

June 21, 2021

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I'm Mickie. I run One Strong Southern Girl from Small Town, TN. I love what I do. I want you to remember me because I helped changed your life. 

Hello!

It’s fair to say the last year has made us all more aware of our baseline health.  And according to Mickie Carter, a former personal trainer and CEO of One Strong Southern Girl, an online company offering education and support to women who exercise at home, living through the pandemic has had some positive consequences for many people, “We’re hearing some good news from our audience of female home exercisers that seems to be a direct result of the pandemic–a surge in women over 50 that are committed to getting physically fit from home.”

“Our audience increased by 50% during 2020 and we noticed a surge in the 50+ age group.”

She goes on to say that her company expected the growth as gyms closed and people were drawn to home fitness options, but were surprised at the number of women reaching out to them for information and support who were over the age of 50.

We’ve been blown away, and thrilled, by the number of women in this age group searching for the best options for them to transition to home exercise. 

As we spoke with these women we noticed a few things that we believe contributed to a higher than ever physical fitness interest in this demographic:

A love of home fitness that had never been explored 

The gym environment can feel intimidating, uncomfortable and awkward for women of all ages, said Mickie. But most of us continue to do what we know and what seems to be the societal norm–until we’re forced to change.

The pandemic forced people to explore a new way to workout and women told us that they fell in love with it.

The women we’ve talked to say they feel a sense of freedom to move their body and learn new workouts in a more comfortable environment–their own home, said Mickie.  And one of the most common things we’ve heard from women over 50: “I would have never tried exercising at home if my gym hadn’t closed. It forced me out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad it did.”

Social media popularity of 50+ aged women sharing their success with fitness

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and Instagram has given women of every age 1000’s of images to inspire and motivate them to hit their fitness goals. 

Hashtags like #fitoverfifty and #fitgrandma have given women a new set of physical fitness goals to identify with who might have once thought it was the norm to slow down physically after a certain age.

During the pandemic people turned to social media for a sense of community and health and fitness inspiration and became instant followers of accounts they might not have found otherwise.

A new way to find community and belonging in a marketplace that doesn’t cater to them

Traditionally gyms have boasted about features like 24 hour access, miles of racked dumbbells and smoothie bars that appeal to a younger crowd. 

Women over 50 tell us they’ve discovered the features they really care about like the energy of live workouts and access to peer support and pro trainers can all be accessed right from home, while avoiding the cost of features they don’t really use at their gym.

The women we’ve talked to are excited about going all-in for a long time with home fitness, said Mickie. Many of them don’t plan to return to a gym at all, and those who do say they’ll probably use a hybrid workout plan where they go to a gym once or twice a week and exercise at home the other days.

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