Fitness websites aim to stream togetherness as well as workouts
By Dorene Internicola
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fitness websites are proliferating, offering a wide range of workout options from group classes to virtual personal training, and experts call the online venues especially inviting for the young, the time-pressed and the gym-averse.
And despite the lack of hands-on contact, the most popular sites manage to maintain the human touch, even if it is faceless and far away.
"I do think online fitness formats that have social community are successful," said exercise physiologist Jessica Matthews. "We know that social support is a long-term adherent to social activity."
Matthews, who teaches exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego, California, said for many people online fitness is about making connections and being with like-minded people.
Fitness instructor, trainer, and wellness coach Jessica Smith, who started streaming workouts in 2005, credits the connection established with her audience, mainly women 30 to 45 years old, for the success of JessicaSmithtv.com.
"That's what keeps people coming back and leaving comments," she added.
Even corporate gyms are dipping their toes into the video stream. Crunch, a national gym chain, launched Crunch Live at the end of 2013.
"We're hurtling so quickly through technology," said Donna Cyrus, a senior vice president of programming at Crunch Fitness. "It seemed to me the future was definitely online." Continued...