Even with a slowdown in sales following the pandemic, the home fitness equipment industry is expected to see significant growth over the coming years - from $14 billion in 2021 to almost $22 billion by 2028 - according to data published by Research and Markets.
But not everyone can afford expensive gear, nor do many have the room for a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical.
As a result, streaming video fitness classes are a popular alternative, usually in the form of an app you can access on multiple devices, and often not requiring equipment. This is ideal for business travelers, too, who may want a workout in their hotel room before heading out for the day.
"The portability of fitness apps that can be used on the go, anytime and anywhere, adds to the appeal," says Tim Bajarin, a veteran technology analyst and Chairman of the San Jose, California-based market research firm Creative Strategies, in an interview with USA TODAY.
"For the majority of people who don't want to spend hard-earned money on expensive exercise equipment, these fitness software apps can help them stay fit at a much lower cost," add Bajarin, who says he has added a virtual reality (VR) fitness app, Liteboxer, to his routine. "Exercising in VR could be the next big frontier in fitness programs."
Peloton isn't just hardware
While home fitness behemoths like Peloton fuse video instructors with its exercise equipment, its popular Peloton App ($12.99/month after 30-day free trial) can be used with or without at-home hardware, and can be accessed on several devices: iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets, Fire tablets, Android TV, Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku or the web.
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"Connected fitness has shifted the way people approach and prioritize their physical and mental health," says Tom Cortese, Peloton's Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, in a statement provided to USA TODAY. "Consumers now have the opportunity to seek services that accommodate and support their lifestyle, offering convenience, accessibility and flexibility, while also providing personalized and engaging experiences."
The Peloton App membership offers access to thousands of live and on-demand classes, covering several workout types, including indoor cycling, running, walking, boot camp, strength, yoga and outdoor audio-only classes, and curated music.
"Our App gives you the power and motivation of the Peloton experience, truly, anywhere," adds Cortese. "It's a key product in our portfolio enabling new and existing members to benefit from thousands of high-energy classes from expert instructors."
Similar to the All-Access membership for $44/month (required with Peloton equipment), you can see metrics and performance tracking to keep you motivated, plus you can see other members taking the same class as you.
Note: Peloton's All-Access membership gives you access to the Peloton App, at no extra charge, but not the other way around.
Apple Fitness+ on track for success
Launched in late 2020 during the pandemic, Apple Fitness+ ($9.99/month or $79.99/year) is an exclusive service for Apple devices that provides access to thousands of 4K video and audio workouts, led by expert trainers, from five to 45 minutes a piece.
Exercises include walking, running, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), strength training, yoga, Pilates, cycling, dance, rowing and more - even guided meditation - and each with music playlists. New workouts and meditations are added every week, says Apple.
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Supporting up to five family members per subscription, Apple Fitness+ works on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch (with personalized metrics captured on your wrist). If you buy an Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+ is free for three months.
While most classes don't require any equipment, for some you may need items like a yoga mat, dumbbells, an indoor cycling bike, a rowing machine or a treadmill. You can use any brand of equipment.
Apple Fitness+ can be found in the center tab of the Fitness app on iPhone, while Apple Watch wearers will find Fitness+ Audio Workouts in the Workout app and Fitness+ Audio Meditations in the Mindfulness app. iPad users will need to download the Fitness app from the App Store, and it's available on Apple TV.
Fun fact: Peloton tweeted the day that Apple announced Fitness+, "Friendly competition is in our DNA. Welcome to the world of digital fitness, Apple."
Other video streaming options for fitness fans
From countless (and free) YouTube videos by personal trainers and fitness instructors to national fitness clubs offering virtual workouts (including Planet Fitness and GoodLife Fitness), there is no shortage of streaming video classes to find online - and whichever device you rely on.
Even Roku, the popular video streaming platform, offers several hundred fitness (and mindfulness) channels to watch, including both free and paid services.
Other popular picks for live and/or on-demand fitness classes include Daily Burn (Android and iOS), Nike Training Club, Obé Fitness (Android and iOS), Popsugar Fitness, Beachbody on Demand and Fitness Blender, to name a few.
Follow Marc on Twitter for his "Tech Tip of the Day" posts: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gym membership cost, fitness apps still more affordable than Peloton