SFIA’s Tracking the Fitness Movement Report Shows Walking for Fitness & Yoga Are Hottest American Fitness Activities

SILVER SPRING, MD (August 24, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its 2022 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report featuring an in-depth analysis of workout trends, participation habits, and purchasing behaviors in the fitness industry. In addition to a detailed analysis of total and core participation rates for more than 20 fitness activities, the 2022 report also includes a deep dive on age cohorts, cross-activity trends, aspirations to do different activities, and “home vs. club” fitness insights.

Two years removed from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as society works to figure out our “new normal,” the fitness industry remains in flux, but with optimism and many opportunities for the future. While demand for at-home fitness products has diminished from pandemic-driven high watermarks, the business remains strong and reflects a positive long-term outlook. The institutional fitness business – equipment sales and health clubs – which suffered during the pandemic, rebounded in 2021, but is not yet back at 2019 levels for the most part.

With help from the reopening of health clubs as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the largest one-year increases in 2021 came in treadmill participation (+7.6%), cross-training style workouts (+6.4%), stair climbing machines (+4.7%), sole recumbent or upright stationary cycling (+3.7%), and boot camp style training (4.0%). Some of this positive change is enhanced by comparisons against a very tough previous year.

“We are seeing that Americans today have a greater awareness of the benefits of activity to their physical, mental, and emotional health than ever before,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “Once the ability to be active was restricted because of the pandemic, people realized the need to add fitness routines to their daily lives and had to find ways to do so at a time when possibilities were limited.”

Easily accessible activities such as walking for fitness, running, kettlebells, and yoga, which saw growth during the pandemic with the increase in at-home fitness, continued to see high participation rates over the two-year period. Running/jogging and weight resistance machines had the highest core participation rates (more than 50 times per year) in the country, while yoga continued its sharp multi-year growth in participation, rising 4.7 percent to 34.3 million participants. Further indicating yoga’s projected sustainability, core yoga participation grew 5.7% in 2021 and is up 23.8% over two years.

While many health clubs re-opened doors and reclaimed members in 2021, there is a lingering pandemic impact on the fitness industry, as many clubs were forced to close their doors for good. But, overall, the fitness industry is still seeing good retention in 2021. As fitness enthusiasts recognized a lack of variety in fitness options and missed social opportunities of group classes and the convenience of going to clubs near their office or home in 2021, we expect to see club participation levels continue to grow through 2022 as fitness routines evolve in post-pandemic life and more pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Cove states, “The key challenge for the fitness industry going forward is going to be all about how to navigate the fitness experience, and how to capitalize on this increased awareness and demand for fitness by delivering high quality, cost-effective value propositions for people looking to establish their new routine.”

The 2022 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase for $649 by clicking here.

The report is provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of this report or an interview with a member of SFIA, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

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ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

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