With the nation shlepping at keyboards, working from home as effectively as Homer Simpson in a mu mu, or taking in the sun at Bondi beach, you could be forgiven for thinking we were going to take a collective break from getting our shit together.
But stats from Aussie icon Chris Hemsworth‘s exercise app Centr suggest we aren’t taking the Coronavirus situation lying down. Speaking with Zsofi Paterson, General Manager of Loup (the technology, content and marketing business for which ‘Centr, by Chris Hemsworth’, is the hero product), DMARGE learned the uptake of program trials via Centr’s website over the past week “has been around double the typical volume that we expect at this time of year.”
“March is not considered to be a peak period within the health and fitness industry however we are seeing visits to the Centr website reaching a level not usually experienced outside of peak periods (January/February)” Zsofi told us. “These changes likely reflect the widespread self isolation policies being adopted which has increased the amount of people working from home, avoiding in-person gyms, and seeking a health and fitness solution that they can still feel comfortable undertaking during this uncertain time.”
“We expect that we’ll see this trend continue as people continue to make lifestyle shifts and seek to replace in-person activities with digital alternatives.”
Usage by existing members has increased too, Zsofi told us: “engagement from Centr’s members within the program has certainly increased over the past fortnight, which is reflected in an increase of views/streams of our program content.” Centr management is also starting to see the way members engage with the program changing, “with engagement peaking mid-week as opposed to over the weekend.”
“These trends suggest that many of our users are adapting to working from home and using the program as a tool to help stay fit and healthy without leaving the house.”
On top of that, Centr’s private Facebook community is seeing high levels of engagement too, with many members sharing that having access to Centr’s workouts, mindfulness content, and the ability to quickly connect with like-minded individuals online, has been a great support to them through this challenging time (even if some are complaining about having to do the same workout for 6 weeks in a row).
“Thanks for being here for us even during the hard times right now. This is a great community! Remember 30 mins of working out a day helps your immune system and keeps you healthier. Thank you Luke for doing a live workout,” wrote one user, while another posted: “Even during a global pandemic, Luke Zocchi kicks my butt.”
In light of the Coronavirus situation – with public gyms bracing themselves for a potential closure, DMARGE asked Zsofi whether CENTR was adapting its program for an influx of gym junkies with potentially different needs. Zsofi replied: “We are evaluating our customer’s current needs in light of the coronavirus pandemic and evolving the program’s content to help meet these – whilst not forgoing the type of content we know our members rely on Centr for. Some of these changes include adding more low-equipment and no-equipment workouts, as well as recipes that can be made using simple ingredients.”
“Additionally, we’re working with our expert trainers to provide value to non-members via social media with a calendar of planned activity that includes live workouts, recipe content, and recorded meditations.”
As for working out from home, current advice from the Australian government is – if you have not been in contact with a known case of Coronavirus, and are feeling healthy, then regular exercise and eating well can be a great step to help maintain good health, instill a sense of routine, and ease stress.
In these challenging times, especially if you’re new to exercise it’s also important to ensure you take caution when starting a new routine, which, Zsofi tells us, “means choosing workouts of a suitable level, ensuring you’re warming up correctly, and following your digital trainer’s instructions to ensure your form is correct.”
Oh and as a final note, Zsofi also pointed out that, as well as physical exercise, the Centr program incorporates mindfulness content such as meditations and sleep visualisations which can be a great complement to physical activity – particularly during stressful periods: “many members of the Centr community have shared that these tools have been valuable in keeping them feeling resilient and positive during this period, and we encourage all members to incorporate a mindfulness practice into their routine.”