How Consumers Stay Fit in the Age of COVID

While the pandemic has put a hold on many positive aspects of everyday life, exercise is an exception. Trying a new sport, purchasing new gear and making face coverings a new part of an activewear wardrobe emerged as key aspects of the 2020 COVID-19 experience. Only three percent of survey respondents replied “No” when asked, “did you purchase any apparel, footwear or related gear for a new sport or fitness activity in 2020.” And even these individuals explained, “But I rented gear for that sport activity.” Whether actually worn or not, face coverings are now recognized as a lifestyle item, with 54 percent of survey takers stating that a face covering is “an essential part of their active wardrobe.” When purchasing a mask, “fit” was a top priority in decision-making, with “fabric” ranked second. Interestingly, with all the talk about antimicrobials in the age of COVID, just six percent of individuals surveyed highlighted “antimicrobial” as a characteristic influencing their face covering purchase.  

The survey, conducted by MESH01, included 373 respondents, men and women, ages 18 to 60 who identify themselves as active and outdoors.


Beanie and ear warmer to play golf in. Game changer when it’s cold out and you are trying to play a round of golf! Thick and insulated keeping your ears and head warm! – Male 29

My plug-in headlamp that I can charge from my iPhone chord. I run so early in the AM, so always having a charged headlamp has been key this past year! – Female 36

I recently purchased the best fitting sports bra I’ve ever owned. – Female 35

Jump rope - portable can use it anywhere. – Male 39

Wireless earbuds. Life-changing. – Female 51


My treadmill. I was able to use it through the pandemic and do not have to worry about social distancing or a mask. – Female 36

Stand up paddle board. I used it 5x a week, and it naturally allowed for social distancing. – Female 28

Insect-shield tech tee for repelling insects while in the kayak. – Male 48

A golf push cart. It gave me a much better workout than riding in a golf cart. – Male 40


A pickleball racket because it’s my new fun sport. – Female 56

Running shoes - to have the right shoe for the right activity can make or break an activity - especially if you are trying it for the first time. – Male 59

Sport related apparel. It is important because it will mark the beginning of meeting my fitness goals and weight loss journey. – Female 47

My purchase of well-fit new running shoes with custom insoles from a “runner specialty store” was my most significant purchase because it jump-started my willingness to take up running, and I didn’t have to worry about pain from an ill-fitting shoe. – Female 33


Knee braces for support. – Male 52

Recovery supplements — it allowed me to feel less sore after a workout giving me more days to workout. – Male 25

Foam roller— made me loosen my back and knots from stress. – Female 39

Insoles for my shoes — helped me deal with pain I was having. – Female 43

New backpack—better fit and usage. I am able to backpack longer without pain – Male 33

Running/walking shoes—once we increased our walking due to Covid shutting things down, my feet were becoming more painful and tired. I realized I had been wearing one pair of shoes for both activities and it was ruining my feet. – Female 28


Dumbbells— since I don’t have access to weights/a gym at the moment. – Female 26

Tennis shoes and yoga mats—significant because they each enabled me to continue to work out in my home. – Female 31

Bike trainer—to use with existing road bike that allowed me to do cardio workouts at home. – Male 39

Yoga pants— since I have to exercise in my house. – Female 44

True fitness treadmill— allowed indoor running. – Male 40

The best fitness-related item I purchased in 2020 was to have bought a treadmill, that helped me to continue doing my exercise indoors without having to go out or risk having contact with people. – Female 36


New running sneakers—to continue running through the pandemic. – Female 52

Trail shoes—I can use them for trail running, for hiking and for winter icy runs. – Female 44

Hiking boots—most significant because the time I spent outdoors on long duration events increased as I worked from home more allowing flexibility in work hours. – Male 51


Bikes for my kids—so we can ride as a family. – Male 37

My bike—because it helped break up the monotony of run/walking. – Male 48

Exercise bike—I can use it at anytime. – Male 41

New mountain bike—there’s nothing better than new bike day. – Male 45

Peloton bike—it allowed me to have access to cardio workouts that I did not have before. Also allows me to ride in any weather since I am Indoors. – Female 21


Waterproof jacket—it’s a great windbreaker and actually keeps me dry when I’m hiking or running in the rain. – Female 25

Hydration vest—it can either use water bottles or has a bladder pouch. Also has room for jell packs and additional clothing. – Male 57

Yoga pants—because they fit perfectly. – Female 38

Leggings that I actually wear, vs a drawer full of ones I don’t! Great fit, long lasting fabric. – Female 27


My yoga mat! I didn’t realize how much I needed it until the pandemic hit. – Female 26

Head lamp and lighted vest since we are lacking daylight. I live to be outside but want to see and be seen. – Female 50

Face mask with room to breathe. – Male 29

A Fitbit tracker. Really gives me insight on staying active and sleep patterns. I love it. – Female 51

A step counter. It really helped me see exactly how much movement I get in a day even when I am not working out. – Female 48

Kayak. I couldn’t kayak without one. – Male 43

I purchased a new mountain bike and a few kettle bells. The kettle bells and local park replaced my need to go to the gym and the mountain bike I have only had a few weeks but my goal is to really “up my game” and skills with this new mountain bike as it is more forgiving on technical terrain and for downhill riding. Female 35