Boston – December 21, 2010 – IHRSA, The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (www.ihrsa.org), has released a list of health club trends for 2011.
By working with its global membership base of over 10,000 club and fitness businesses, examining industry research, and monitoring consumer wellness behavior, IHRSA has identified the most significant trends in health clubs for 2011.
Trend 1: Clubs and Trainers are Providing More Age-Appropriate Offerings
Exercise is not one-size-fits-all.
Specific Programming and certifications for exercisers over 55:
Baby Boomers want to age well, they are exercising for more energy and the ability to work and/or play longer. Exercisers over the age of 55 have specific needs and are looking for programs designed for older adults. As people age, strength and balance training become even more important, so the trend is for clubs to provide specialized programming and trainers that are specifically qualified to work with older adults on their exercise programs.
Since the older adult market (baby boomers) is the fastest growing segment of the population, this trend will only grow stronger and will continue for the foreseeable future.
Children ages 6-17 are the second fastest growing demographic of health club members.
There is a growing trend for sports-specific training for children from elementary school on up. This trend is popular because while not every child will become a top athlete, this training helps boost confidence in all areas of life, and helps some youth to be better athletes in their chosen sport(s).
Also, due to the obesity epidemic in children, more clubs, training programs and equipment will continue to be designed around children’s unique fitness needs.
Generation X Programming:
Nearly eight million Generation X’ers are current health club members, with another 13 million once having been card-carrying members. Engaging this generation is a priority to clubs as this group’s beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions are highly influential on American culture. Programs focused on wellness and cross-promotion with non-club activities (see trends below) will resonate with this group, as they are most concerned with frequenting health clubs for overall health and wellness and to engage in challenging activities that are of interest to them.
Trend 2: Cross-promotion with Non-Club Activities & Niche-Specific Facilities
Health club members are very active, using their clubs an average of 102 days per year, and they also participate in a variety of sports activities outside the club. Therefore, club operators and fitness professionals are increasingly offering workshops on functional training for sports such as tennis, training for triathlons or marathons and skiing. Also, more clubs are taking those programs even further and specializing as a niche business (ie. boxing, rock climbing and mixed martial arts based clubs).
Trend 3: Equipment trends from the ancient to the cutting edge
- What’s old is new again: Kettlebells, originating in Russia in the early 1700s, have exploded into both the club and home fitness markets as they have proven to be very effective for building strength.
- Vibration equipment: Exercising on a platform designed to vibrate at very high speeds is a hot trend that club operators and trainers were among the first to embrace. Makers of vibration machines state that these vibrations make for a much more effective workout. They have become very popular with professional sports teams, fitness centers, celebrities and elite athletes.
- Human-Power: There is a rapidly growing number of health clubs and cycling studios, where the cardio equipment is specifically designed to not only not require electricity, but to actually produce electricity as members exercise. The electricity generated is enough to at least partially offset the power required to run the televisions, fans, lighting and HVAC. This ties into the over all move towards “greener” business practices that many health clubs have adopted.
Trend 4: The Rise of Wellness Programming
Multiple research findings point to the need for and rise of wellness programming. 73% of US consumers consider being physically fit important to being ‘well’. (The Hartman Group, August 2010) IHRSA research shows that seven out of ten health club members keep using their clubs for overall health/well-being. Harvard researchers expect U.S. obesity rates to reach 42 percent by 2050. According to The Economic Benefits of Regular Exercise, an IHRSA publication, researchers have found that the return on investment among companies that offer wellness benefits ranges from $1.49 to $13 for every dollar invested. Wellness-oriented services in both the health club and the workplace are proven to help address consumer health goals, reduce the impact of obesity rates, and improve business profitability. Wellness programming initiatives and services include partnerships with local health care providers, workplace wellness facilities, personal training for special medical populations, and nutrition coaching for the overweight/obese exerciser.
Trend 5: Group Exercise Programming is Experiencing Phenomenal Growth
Group Exercise, both traditional aerobics and unconventional new classes, are as popular as ever among health club members.
Group exercise classes with the largest growth rates are cardio-kickboxing, yoga, high-impact aerobics, dance style classes and strength training classes.
From 2008 to 2009, participation in cardio kickboxing was up 20.1%, high-impact aerobics was up 8.1%, low-impact aerobics was up 6.3% and step aerobics was up 4.5%.
Why: Socially based exercise is up. More clubs are offering group exercise (of all kinds). Based on survey responses from 3,306 IHRSA member clubs, group cycling is still growing, group strength classes have increased, and boot camp style programs are appearing everywhere, from in-club sessions to trainers leading Sunday morning sessions in the local park. Also, Latin dance and nightclub-inspired workouts are appearing everywhere, not only in clubs but in church basements, school gymnasiums and corporate offices. Fusion classes that combine exercising, yoga, Pilates and dance are also a growing trend.
Trend 6: The Evolution of Personal Training
In 1999, 4 million Americans were using personal trainers. Now that number hovers around 6.5 million. Once thought of as only for super-rich, one-name celebrities such as Cher, Madonna and Sting, now personal training is the most commonly offered program in clubs, with over 90% of all clubs offering personal training of some kind. The main factor for growth, even in the recession, is the trend away from one-on-one training towards small-group or semi-private training to increase the fun level while mitigating expenses.
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is the trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, racquet and sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and fitness promotion. IHRSA and the health club industry will be convening in San Francisco, CA March 16-19 for IHRSA’s 30th Anniversary Convention & Trade Show. Find an IHRSA club at healthclubs.com.
Contact: Meredith Poppler, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-617-951-0055