Feature Article - June 2011
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Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

A Look at Trends in Health, Fitness & Sports Clubs

By Emily Tipping

Respondents from health clubs were among those most likely to report that they had plans to add additional programs at their facilities over the next three years. This is an important area for many health clubs, as they aim to boost retention and attract new members to their facilities. Some 38.4 percent said they had plans to add programs. The most popular planned programs include:

  1. Programming for active older adults
  2. Fitness programs
  3. Teen programming
  4. Mind-body/balance programs
  5. Individual sports activities
  6. Nutrition/diet counseling
  7. Aquatic exercise programs
  8. Special needs programs
  9. Adult sports teams
  10. Youth sports teams

Programming for active older adults was also a commonly planned program last year, appearing in the No. 2 spot. Also gaining in popularity on the list of planned programs are: fitness (up from No. 5), teen programming (up from No. 3), mind-body/balance (up from No. 7), and individual sports activities (up from No. 9). Programs that appear on the list of top 10 planned programs this year that were not included on last year's list include: aquatic exercise programs, special needs programs, adult sports teams and youth sports teams.

Older Adults

As the baby boomers begin to reach retirement age, the United States is faced with an aging population, and many directors of recreation, sports and fitness facilities, recognizing this fact, are aiming new programming initiatives straight for this market of aging boomers.

Programming designed for active older adults was the No. 1 planned program among health club respondents. Across the country, facilities are springing up that focus specifically on the aging population, from health clubs with equipment that goes a little easier on joints or offers balance training to over-50 facilities that aim to provide a place for both wellness and recreation.