Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2020

Health Club Membership Up in 2019, Says IHRSA

By Joe Bush

For the fifth consecutive year, membership in health clubs grew, according to a study conducted by the nonprofit International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) as part of the Physical Activity Council (PAC).

The total number of health club members has grown by 28% since 2010, and overall, 21.2% of Americans were members of a health club or studio in 2019. That's 64.2 million consumers ages 6 and older.

"A decade of growth attests to the critical role health clubs play in meeting the physical activity and wellness needs of consumers," said Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO. "As we anticipate strong membership numbers in other key markets, continued member growth in the U.S. shows promise for the industry's goal of reaching 230 million members worldwide by 2030."

Each year, IHRSA conducts a health club consumer study as part of the PAC, which is made up of eight of the leading sports and manufacturer associations that are dedicated to growing participation in their respective sports and activities. In 2019, 18,000 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals from the U.S. proprietary online panels representative of the U.S. population for people ages 6 and older. The studies follow strict quotas associated with gender, age, income, region and ethnicity to ensure a balanced sample.

The latest study showed nearly one out of four Americans used at least one U.S. health club or studio in 2019. Health club visits have also risen, totaling 6.7 billion in 2019, up from 4.7 billion in 2010.

"Health club goers have come to rely on their health and fitness facilities to engage in regular exercise as average attendance reached an all-time high of 109 visits among members in 2019," said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of global products. "Results from the PAC highlight how important fitness is to the public as more than two-thirds of Americans engage in fitness-related activities, including cardio, resistance training and group-based exercise."

IHRSA will release the 2020 IHRSA Global Report later in 2020; the overview of the worldwide health club industry will pair with the 2020 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, which gives analysis of health club consumer growth, demographics, utilization and trends, as well as insights and applications for club operators.

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