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NEWS DELHI : When the lockdown first began and gyms closed for an indefinite period, strength and conditioning coach Ronnie Dev began to build a mini gym inside his home in Faridabad, Haryana. After calls to at least three different companies, Dev said he finally managed to set up the gym that cost at least 170,000. Supplies, said Dev, came in from Kolkata, Pune and Delhi as shortage for specific type of equipment forced him to look for manufacturers online.

While fitness centres around his area remained shut; even if they were open, Dev is unsure whether he wants to return.

Stuck at home, Indians are taking to continuing their fitness schedule at home. The lockdown and the continuity of work-from-home for several white-collar workers has also given some people more time to devote to fitness. Moreover, concerns around maintaining a healthy lifestyle amid the pandemic has also led several people to take up fitness activity. There are also concerns around rising levels of obesity with less physical movement and people living more sedentary lives.

As a result, consumers are looking to buy equipment ranging from weights, resistance bands, to large exercise machines, as well as sportswear and footwear.

Fitness retailer Decathlon that runs 79 stores across India said demand for skipping ropes and fitness accessories such as steps and steppers, along with self-power cross trainers, rowers, and treadmills, has surged since the lockdown began in end-March as people turned to create their own fitness regime indoors. Decathlon saw sale of cardio products jump 300% compared to March-July 2019.

“The demand for active wears online has also increased by over 350% from a pre-covid era. Jump ropes have witnessed the highest increase in demand with a 600% increase in sales online along with other fitness accessories such as Steps and Steppers.

Fitness rowing machines or an indoor rowing machine have also seen an overall increase of 179% given its high endurance workout benefits," a company spokesperson said in response to queries from Mint.

Even as the Union government allowed gyms and yoga centres to resume operations earlier this month with the Unlock 3.0 guidelines, several people remain wary of using gyms. Moreover, the decision to open gyms is also dependent on several states.

One of the worst-affected states by the coronavirus pandemic, Delhi, for instance, has not allowed fitness centres to reopen.

Similarly, Maharashtra, another severely-hit state, is yet to take a decision on allowing gyms to reopen for business, although in Kolkata, gyms are up and running already.

Sportswear apparel and footwear retailer Puma said new customers on its own website shopped for fitness products, bumping up sales of its fitness category by 20% compared to a year ago. “Home workouts, runs around society, walking and even kids taking to fitness exercises, is a clear trend we are seeing. It’s interesting to note that most of the new customers on puma.com are shopping for fitness products," said Abhishek Ganguly, Puma’s general manager for India and South East Asia.

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