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

Feature Story

February 2022


Americans' Inactivity Rate Declining, Says SFIA Report

Americans got a move on in 2021, says the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). As the world slowly began to reopen last year, Americans got back on the move, according to the association's Topline Participation Report, which tracks participation rates of Americans 6 and older, across 120 different sport, fitness and outdoor activities. The report includes a section dedicated to the impact of COVID-19 on participation rates.

For the second year in a row, inactivity levels declined. Decreasing by 0.7% from 2020, inactivity is the lowest it has ever been. Compared to 2016, activity has increased 7.8%—that means 16.8 million more people participated in sports and fitness in a five-year span.

Lower inactivity levels in 2021 were primarily driven by the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups, with youth inactivity—age groups 6 to 12 and 13 to 17—also decreasing for the fifth year in a row. While these activity numbers are encouraging, there is still a lot of work to do, as more than 72 million people are still inactive.

"2021 showed pandemic-friendly activities like tennis, golf, running, hiking, yoga, skateboarding and surfing continue to be popular, while other categories that declined in 2020 are starting to recover," said Tom Cove, president and CEO, SFIA.

Across the seven sports categories tracked by SFIA, water sports saw the largest year-over-year increase in participation at 2.3%, followed closely behind by outdoor sports with a 2.2% increase. Team sports saw a year-over-year increase of 1.8%, but participation still remains lower than pre-pandemic levels with approximately 2 million fewer people participating in team sports in 2021 than 2019.

Pickleball continues its incredible rise, becoming the fastest-growing sport over the past two years, with participation seeing a 39.3% growth. Yoga has grown 12.8% in that same time frame, making it one of the fastest-growing activities during the pandemic.

Major events continue to have a substantial impact on participation. With the summer Olympic games taking place in 2021, participation in gymnastics, fast-pitch softball, swimming on a team, and court volleyball all increased by more than 8%. This is almost double the amount of growth the next highest team sport saw.

"As we continue to face challenges with an ongoing, unpredictable pandemic, we are encouraged to see folks retuning to health clubs and heading back out to the courts and fields, and continuing the active lifestyles they adopted during the pandemic," Cove said

For more information, visit www.sfia.org.


Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

New Senate Bill Would Bolster Recreation in Rural Communities - February 2022

Fitness Facilities Continue to Struggle With COVID Closures - February 2022

KABOOM! Launches Initiative Toward Ending Playspace Inequity - January 2022

PHTA Funds Swim Lessons for Nearly 6,300 Children in 2021 - January 2022

NRPA Celebrates Parks' Role in Americans' Wellness Goals - January 2022

ACSM Lists Top Fitness Trends for 2022 - January 2022

SFIA Report Reveals Impact of Pandemic on Organized Team Sports - January 2022

Schoolyard Playground Program Earns ASLA Olmsted Medal - December 2021

Report Shows Park & Rec Out-of-School Time Programming Is Vital - December 2021

Rails-to-Trails Grant Invest in Equitable Trail Access - December 2021

Aquatic Groups to Co-Locate Conferences to Expand Reach - November 2021

New SFIA Report Tracks Changes in Fitness Industry - November 2021

ACA, White House Recognize New Hampshire Program That Benefits Camps & Families - November 2021

New NRPA Guide Aims to Facilitate Conversations Around Diversity, Equity & Inclusion - November 2021

Grants Available for Youth & Adult Swim Lesson Providers - October 2021

NAYS Partnership Will Provide Sporting Goods Where Needed - October 2021

RWJF Recognizes Community-Based Sports Organizations - October 2021

Soccer Mini Pitch Honoring Former MLS Player Ray Gaddis Unveiled in Indianapolis - October 2021

CDC Reports Major Increase in Obesity Over Past Decade - September 2021

Despite Pandemic, Sports & Fitness Participation Grew, Says SFIA - September 2021

Partnerships Between Parks & Schools Provide More Equitable Access - September 2021

$500,000 in Grants Awarded for Water-Inspired Play Spaces - September 2021

Leading Organizations Endorse Children's Bill of Rights in Sports - August 2021

Screentime Up, Mental & Physical Fitness Down, Says New Study - August 2021

The Great American Outdoors Act, One Year Later - August 2021

IHRSA Foundation Digs Into the New Fitness Consumer Mindset - August 2021

NRPA Announces Grant Funding to Support Equitable Access to Parks - August 2021

Arlington, Va., Named 'Fittest City' - July 2021

ACE Launches Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Course for Exercise Pros - July 2021

NRPA Survey Finds Strong Support for Park & Rec Infrastructure Investments - July 2021

2021 Report Shows Record Outdoor Participation - July 2021

YMCA Examines Generational, Racial Inequities in Water Safety Education - June 2021

Child Drownings Remain High - June 2021

CPSC Announces $2 Million in Grants Available to Help Prevent Drowning, Entrapment - June 2021

10th Annual ParkScore Index Names Washington, D.C., Best City Park System - June 2021

ACE, WIFA Launch Opportunity to Support Women in Fitness - June 2021

$150 Million in Grants Will Create Parks, Expand Recreation Opportunities - May 2021

CPSC Awards More Than $860,000 in Pool Safely Grants - May 2021

Leading Aquatic Organizations Champion Water Safety - May 2021

Keep America Beautiful Releases Study on Litter in America - May 2021

Outdoor Industry Association Paints Picture of the New Outdoor Participant - April 2021

NRPA Introduces New Resource Aimed at Eliminating Health Inequities - April 2021

ULI Report: Pandemic Led to Innovation in the Public Realm - April 2021

Nation's Pediatricians Provide New Guidance on Summer Camp Safety - April 2021

Grants Invest in Community Trail Projects - March 2021

Research Supports Safe Camp Operations During Pandemic - March 2021

USA Swimming Distributes Community Impact Grants - March 2021

Research Uncovers What Consumers Need to Return to Gyms - March 2021

Study Details Hard-Hitting Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Attractions Industry - March 2021

Outdoor Participation Up Significantly, Says Topline Data From Outdoor Foundation - February 2021

USA Swimming Awards Funds to Local Swimming Committees - February 2021

NGWSD Celebrates Girls & Women in Sports - February 2021

Organizations Lodge Opposition to Last-Minute LWCF Changes - February 2021