When the pandemic started last year, gyms, pools, fitness studios, and stadiums closed to prevent the spread of the virus. But these sports facilities reopened with some modifications to maintain social and physical distancing. For instance, some modernized bowling alleys had to close off every other lane while fitness gyms sanitized equipment more frequently than before.
Despite these changes, some of these establishments may find it challenging to survive the pandemic. With people preferring to stay home, they will find it hard to meet their monthly targets to continue operating.
But some sports are thriving even in the middle of the pandemic. These sports are giving people the chance to exercise and keep themselves physically and mentally healthy. While most of these sports are physical by nature, one focuses on the mental aspect of health.
Anyway, here are some sports activities that have thrived even during the pandemic.
Outdoor activities have thrived in the middle of the pandemic as people felt the need to go out and exercise. Outdoor enthusiasts participated in different outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and camping.
Bike shop owners noted an increase in bike sales even in the middle of the pandemic. Similarly, outdoor shops also reported increased outdoor equipment sales, including hiking gear, kayaks, and paddleboards.
Despite the restrictions, the number of people joining recreational activities has increased. These activities have continued despite the partial closure of some parks and limitations on the number of people who can enter the parks that have remained open.
Running and biking were among the preferred outdoor activities since it allowed people to observe social and physical distancing while exercising. These activities are also good for the physical and mental health of its participants. These benefits are important, especially with the crisis the world is currently facing.
People find it appealing to participate in outdoor recreational activities. But they should still follow proper health protocols to reduce the risk of getting infected. These protocols include avoiding crowded routes when running or hiking. They should also wear a mask and maintain a safe distance from people who are not a part of their household.
Camping also became popular during the pandemic. State parks in Tennessee even saw record numbers of campers in the last two months of 2020. The numbers highlighted the importance of taking care of your physical and mental health.
While some campers were regular park visitors, others were first-timers who wanted to escape life in the city for a short while. They also want to experience nature at its best. Even as parks saw record numbers of campers, there were still limitations to prevent overcrowding.
The parks also posted reminders to encourage visitors to practice social and physical distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also released guidelines for summer and youth camps organized in the coming months. The guidelines complemented the laws implemented in the different states in the country.
Golf is another outdoor sport that saw a surge ever since the pandemic started. After states started to reopen after the initial shelter-at-home orders were issued, golf courses were among the safe places to visit.
Due to this, interest in the sport grew. It’s the second-biggest increase in interest in the sport, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF). The only time there was a bigger increase was when Tiger Woods became popular in 1997.
Sales of golf equipment also increased, with one company reporting an increase of up to 50 percent. Overall market growth in the sport went up by around 300 percent.
The ability of the sport to ensure social distancing among players helped it grow during the pandemic. Additionally, golf clubs also instituted measures to strengthen further the health protocols issued by the authorities.
With everyone relying on the internet for work and entertainment, it was only logical to see growth in online gaming. Aside from entertaining themselves, online gaming also allowed people to interact with others through the virtual environment offered by the game.
With the restrictions imposed on physical sports, esports thrived as people can participate in the games in the comfort of their homes. Aside from joining esports, people also watched games while following the stay-at-home orders. A survey showed that around 82 percent of global esports consumers either played or watched the games since the pandemic started.
While many sports paused when the pandemic started, some increased in popularity as people looked for ways to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy.