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Posted on 08-24-2016

Fitness Club Membership in the US: What the Numbers Tell Us

If you are thinking about joining a fitness club to get in shape, you are not alone. Over 50 million Americans belong to a health club, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), and the numbers are rising by approximately 10 percent every year. And it’s no surprise, with more people becoming health-conscious and doing what they can to reduce their risk of obesity and heart disease, which go hand-in-hand with a sedentary lifestyle. Following are a few interesting facts regarding fitness club membership in the US.

  • The average fitness club member will go to the gym twice a week.
  • The primary reason why people do not join a fitness club or quit their membership is that they feel it is too expensive. The average monthly cost of a fitness club membership is $55, and of that amount, $39 of it is wasted because the average member doesn’t use it. Amazingly, an estimated 67% to 80% of those with a gym membership never use it at all.
  • There are nearly 30,000 health clubs throughout the US, which generate over $21 billion in combined revenue each year.
  • Approximately a fifth of those with a fitness club membership are over age 55. The primary reason why 90% of them join a gym is that they are concerned about staying healthy, whereas the primary cause for 16-20 year-olds is to feel better about themselves. More gyms are now offering age-specific programs to accommodate the needs of different age groups.
  • The greater your income, the more time you spend at the gym. A study of 1,600 fitness club members found that those members earning the least money went to the gym for one hour per week, whereas members with the highest incomes were at the gym for three hours per week.
  • A few studies have found that the reason people go to the gym is not necessarily for fitness. Fully half of fitness club members go to the gym to meet with friends and look for potential dates. The gym may be an effective way to meet a partner, as a study conducted on 2,000 members of one gym found that over 10% of the members were living with someone they had met at the gym.
  • In 1999, 4 million Americans used a personal trainer at the gym. This number had increased to 6.5 million in 2012.
  • According to IHRSA, the top 10 fitness club activities, in order of preference, are stair-climbing machines, yoga, low impact aerobics, stationary cycling, abdominal machines, stretching, elliptical trainers, resistance machines, treadmills and free weights (hand weights, dumbbells and barbells).

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