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New IHRSA Report Shows Fitness Participation Trends Across Generational Groups

Building upon findings in the annual IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, the new IHRSA Seasonal Consumer Trend Report examines participation in fitness activities over the fall and winter seasons. The report provides analyses by generational group, gender, ethnicity, and U.S. geographic region. 

Based on a survey of more than 9,000 Americans ages 6 and older, yoga and low-impact aerobics represent the two most popular forms of group exercise among club consumers. 

The report shows that Generation Y (the Millennials) drive yoga participation trends, while Baby Boomers drive engagement in low-impact aerobics. Interestingly, millennials are more likely to take part in yoga than older generations. In addition to low-impact aerobics, Boomers tend to prefer other traditional club activities, including step aerobics and aquatic exercise. 

When it comes to resistance training, bodyweight and free weight activities are preferred by Millennials, while Baby Boomers prefer to use resistance machines.

It appears that what we grew up with as exercisers is what drives our preferences today. For example, most Boomers grew up with variable and selectorized weight machines along with aerobic step and dance, while Millennials grew up with mind-body (i.e. yoga and barre) and high-intensity exercise (i.e. boot camp and cross training). 

For more on activity participation distinctions across gender, ethnicity, and U.S. geographic region, check out the IHRSA Seasonal Consumer Trend Report

“The new IHRSA Health Club Consumer Seasonal Trend Report offers club operators additional insights into health club consumers so they can better understand and engage their members,” explains Jay Ablondi, executive vice president of global products at IHRSA. “It provides the same in-depth analysis as IHRSA’s other consumer research reports, but with a focus on seasonal behavior and activity.”

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