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

Feature Story

July 2020


Fitness Participation Up in U.S.

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association showed increasing participation in the most popular fitness categories in 2019. The SFIA 2020 Single Sport Report cover 24 individual fitness activities, providing detailed analysis, showing year-over-year trends, and breaking down participation by a multitude of demographic variable.

The most popular fitness categories, boasting 50 to more than 100 million participants, all increased in participation in 2019. Treadmill was up 5.7%, running and jogging was up 1.2%, walking for fitness was up 0.4%, and free weights - dumbbells/hand weights was up 0.3%. In addition, traditionally "niche" fitness activities showed significant growth, including yoga (up 6%), barre (up 3.8%) and stationary cycling - group (up 5.3%).

"Participation rates for fitness activities have been strong and consistent," said SFIA CEO and President, Tom Cove. "The fact that participation in nearly every category increased in 2019 reflects the breadth and importance of fitness in the United States. These reports provide readers with an unparalleled understanding of each activity on an individual basis, whether it be yoga, weightlifting, HIIT (high intensity interval training) or dance.

"The fitness segment was robust going into 2020," Cove added, though he stressed that the pandemic is "deeply impacting the health club industry." COVID-related restrictions, he said, will likely lead to skyrocketing sales in home fitness activities and products.

SFIA has also been conducting a monthly survey to collect information regarding the impact of the pandemic. The second edition of the report, released in May 2020 showed a return to physical activity and sports was picking up. More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents said they think gyms, health clubs and boutique fitness centers will return in the summer, while for youth sports, 80% believe that organized youth sports will return by September or October.

That said, there's a long way to go. When asked when they expect their company sales to return to "some semblance of pre-COVID levels," a majority of sports and fitness companies (60%) projected 2021 or later.

For more information, visit www.sfia.org.


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