Empty shelves: Kmart's fitness equipment becomes latest coronavirus panic buy

It’s only been a few days since the Prime Minister announced strict social distancing measures that forced gyms and fitness centres to shut up shop but the fallout has been swift and dramatic.

Just like the toilet paper crisis that saw shoppers come to blows over a loo roll, Aussies have now started panic-buying exercise equipment in order to put their gym memberships on hold and workout from home.

Fitness equipment has become the latest coronavirus panic buy. Photo: Getty Images.
Fitness equipment has become the latest coronavirus panic buy. Photo: Getty Images.

Disgruntled customers have taken to social media to share their dismay at near-empty shelves in shops such as Kmart, with weights and yoga mats appearing to be the most popular home workout items.

“Let’s buy weights & yoga mats, every single person in Sydney said #coronavirus,” wrote one on Twitter.

Another Sydney shopper told Yahoo Lifestyle of a similar experience at their local Kmart on Monday morning, mere hours before gyms were scheduled to close their doors in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“I went to Kmart the morning after the PM announced gyms would close, at 7am, and all that was left was 1kg dumbbells. The shelves had been completely cleared out,” they said.

It’s a similar story online, with many of Kmart’s home fitness items - including all but two types of kettle bells - currently marked as sold out.

All but two of Kmart's kettle bells were sold out online. Photo: Kmart.
All but two of Kmart's kettle bells were sold out online. Photo: Kmart.

It’s not just Aussies that are raiding retailers for exercise equipment. In the US, a man named Jeffrey tweeted a snap of a near-empty rack at Walmart while on a search for hand weights.

He, like many others whose appetites have gone haywire lately, admitted he’d gained 10lbs (4.5kg) while in self-isolation and needed to ‘get up and move!’

Walmart dutifully responded to Jeffrey’s tweet saying that their team is ‘doing its best’ to get fitness gear back on shelves. They also directed him to their online store.

How to work out at home

If you’re looking to break a sweat without leaving the house, then a workout app might be your best bet - some are even free!

YouTube is also a great source for no-cost fitness videos of all types - check out Yoga With Adriene or Popsugar Fitness for starters.

Nike Training Club

The Nike-branded app has over 185 free workouts for all levels. Workouts include strength, endurance, yoga and mobility training. Over time and regular use, the app it will get to know what users like to do and start offering recommended workouts based on those preferences. More information here.

Sweat - BBG, PWR

The Sweat app, which features workouts from fitness stars Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells and more normally costs $19.99 a month. However the Sweat trainers have been sharing some of their favourite workouts on their Instagram pages as well for people to see what they can do at home. More info here.

Keep It Cleaner

Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw, founders of health and wellness program Keep It Cleaner (KIC), are hoping to help others stay active at home by offering free live workouts via the KIC Facebook page. The workouts will be equipment-free and streamed live on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7am, with the first session starting tomorrow on the 18th March.

28 by SamWood

Former Bachie star Sam Wood now runs his own online fitness program called 28 by Sam Wood. The 28-minute high-intensity at-home workouts are designed to be completed in the comfort of your own house, plus they're kid-friendly, so they're perfect for busy parents. Sam has set up free live workouts via his Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Bodies by Rachel

Bodies By Rachel specialises in workouts that can be done from anywhere, anytime. The mobile app gives you access to in-depth, easy to follow, at-home workouts (no gym or gym equipment necessary), as well as diet and recipes tips and tricks to reach your fitness and health goals. The BBR team have also released free online resources to support their community during this time. Get a free week of workouts here.

Adidas Training by Runtastic

The Adidas app offers workouts that are anywhere from seven to 45 minutes long. There are more than 180 workouts with detailed demonstrations, and users can join any level of tiered membership for added features. More information here.

Down Dog

So that anyone who wants to practice at home can do so, the Down Dog community is making all of its apps - Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout - completely free until April 1st. More information here.

Daily Yoga

Guided daily yoga moves from beginner to advanced, it’s a yoga app for everyone that has over 60,000 reviews and devoted followers worldwide. More information here.

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