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Korea’s youth fitness market boom – Chosun Ilbo (English version) : Hankook Ilbo

Exercise and fitness are becoming a lifestyle for younger generations deprived of other distractions in the two years of the coronavirus pandemic.

I mainly incorporate aerobic exercise such as running and cycling. Ahn Ho-kyung (31), a Gwanghwamun office worker, immediately changes into sweaty clothes after work and runs from Gwanghwamun to Bukchon, Samcheong-dong, Cheongwadae, Seochon and Inwangsan.

His cell phone records steps and distance traveled. “If my office job is my primary identity, my alter ego is running,” he said.

Companies are enthusiastic about riding trends. Kolon Sports runs activity programs such as trail running in Seoul, named after the brand ‘Wind Chaser’, and plogging, which involves jogging while picking up trash under the eco-brand ‘SottoSotto’.

The Lotte Department Store in Dongtan, south of Seoul, organizes a group of locals who gather for a run, with anywhere from 30 to 500 people participating in the run.

Hotels are also jumping on the bandwagon with “active” vacation packages for guests who can’t sit still. L’Escape Hotel introduced an indoor golf package, The Westin Chosun Seoul offered tennis lessons for guests, and Walker Hill Hotel offered a yoga retreat package.

The gear market is booming. According to market research firm NPD Group, men’s sneakers in the U.S. market grew 17% last year, while women’s sneakers grew 24%. Under Armor, Lulu Lemon and Puma have unveiled new women’s exercise shoes.

Adidas opened a new store in Gangnam offering custom fitting services, and Nike opened a store offering free product trials in the trendy Hongik University area.

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