If you’ve ever entered a road race or joined a run club, you know that when it comes to running, there’s power in numbers. Turns out, that pack mentality extends to indoor running too: treadmill classes were the fastest growing fitness trend of 2018.
The trend is expected to continue its growth into 2019, according to a new report from ClassPass. The service saw an 82% increase in classes that incorporate treadmills in 2018 versus 2017.
So what makes the treadmill – not exactly the most popular piece of gym equipment, and often referred to as the “dreadmill” – so trendy? The same thing that brought us indoor group versions of traditionally outdoor sports like cycling and rowing: the ability to tackle a traditionally intimidating sport in a familiar group setting.
While the average studio-goer or fitness newbie might not join a run club or try to match pace with an outdoor cycling group (let alone seek out a rowing club), studios that bring these workouts indoors help level the playing field. Attendees row, cycle, or run at a level that suits their own ability, without fear of getting left behind.
“A team approach to running outdoors has been difficult to manage because everyone has their own individual pace,” says Julian Ho, an Ironman, Ultra Runner, and instructor with Equinox’s Precision Running and interval studio, Ferris360. “When left to run together, compromise is required. But treadmill running allows participants to run at their own pace to achieve their own goals, but be beside their fellow runner, physically. A camaraderie is felt, a community is built, and a connectedness is felt among all levels of run participants in a group setting.”
And there are plenty of options for embracing the trend, whether in a dedicated treadmill-based workout, (Precision Running or New York City’s Mile High Run Club), or a more interval-based workout (Barry’s Bootcamp, Orangetheory, or Toronto’s Track Fitness and Ferris360). In Santa Monica and Boston, there are Precision Run Labs and New York will get its own Precision Run studio in spring 2019.
Ho, for one, isn’t surprised by the popularity of treadmill classes, and notes the continuing growth of HIIT training (singled out by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as the top fitness trend of 2018) as a likely cause.
“Hybrid strength and conditioning classes that incorporate treadmills as their conditioning component meet the demand for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training),” he explains. “The science that HIIT yields results is unanimous, hence programming to enable the treadmill as a primary tool to deliver this result is the byproduct of this fitness culture phenomenon.”
He also notes that there are some benefits to treadmill running that can’t necessarily be achieved from running outside, like improved real time instruction and coaching, and of course the efficiency that comes with getting in a tough workout in an under an hour.
ClassPass’ Other Trends to Note
Speaking of efficiency…
The same ClassPass survey also found that shorter class times are on the rise, with 33% more people signing up for classes that ran 44 minutes or less in 2018 as compared to 2017.
The other trend they’re expecting to continue it’s growth? Boxing. The total number of classes available on the platform grew by 49% in 2018, with cardio boxing growing by 34% and kickboxing by 23%.
Lead image: Martins Zemlickis via Unsplash