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58.5 Million Americans Utilize Health Clubs

BOSTON, MA - May 8, 2013 - The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced today that U.S. health club industry revenue reached $21.8 billion as more than 58 million Americans used a health club in 2012. Approximately 50.2 million Americans were members of a health club in 2012. The total number of health clubs posted a modest increase of 29,960 in 2011 to 30,500* in 2012.

“Every day, the vibrant health club industry helps consumers achieve their health and fitness goals,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA's president and CEO. “In addition to providing access to a vast array of quality health club facilities and programs, health and fitness professionals provide additional services such as personal training, nutritional counseling, spa, and other wellness offerings in order to meet the fitness needs of members and non-members, alike.”  

In the U.S., health club membership grew by 10% since 2008, as the total number of non-member patrons rose by 5%, from 7.7 million in 2008 to 8.3 million in 2012. One out of five Americans (20%) ages 6 and older were health club consumers, while health club membership penetration reached 17.5%**. Next month, IHRSA will publish global health club statistics with the release of the 2013 IHRSA Global Report.

The recently released Physical Activity Council Topline Report showed that fitness activities remain popular as more than 60% of Americans participated in fitness sports in 2012. This marks the fifth consecutive year in which at least 60% of Americans engaged in fitness activities. Additionally, fitness classes rank among the top 10 aspirational activities for Americans ages 25 and older.

“Consumers can participate in a variety of traditional and unconventional fitness activities at their health clubs,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “Clubs offer group exercise and instruction in a non-intimidating setting for new exercisers, and at the same time provide advanced training and workshops for athletic-minded patrons.”

According to the IHRSA Trend Report, more than one out of five members (22%) continue to use the club for access to group exercise classes. An overlapping 19% select “access to fitness professionals” as a reason for staying at their health clubs. “A strong group exercise program and expert personal training can go a long way towards keeping members and facilitating frequent attendance,” said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA senior research manager.

Methodology: Each year, IHRSA conducts an annual health club consumer study as part of the Physical Activity Council (PAC). The PAC is made up of six of the leading sports and manufacturer associations that are dedicated to growing participation in their respective sports and activities. During January 2013/early February 2013, a total of 42,356 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the U.S. Online Panel operated by Synovate. The total panel has over 1 million members and is maintained to be representative of the U.S. population. Oversampling of ethnic groups took place to boost responses from typically underresponding groups.

*Note: InfoUSA, Inc. provides data related to the total number of club units using the Industry's SIC code of 7991 as listed under the Yellow Pages. The recent recession has resulted in consolidation of club locations and the closure of weaker-performing clubs, while still allowing for new club locations to emerge in underserved markets. Last year also saw the rise of niche and theme-oriented facilities and continued growth of convenient, always open (e.g. 24 hour), and affordable fitness locations. Using InfoUSA as a benchmark, IHRSA estimates there are a total of 30,500 health club facilities in the United States.

**Health club membership penetration rate refers to the percent of Americans ages 6 and older are card-carrying members of a health club.

The IHRSA Trend Report is available free to members at ihrsa.org/research. Member login is required to download. Non-members can purchase the report for $99.95 at the IHRSA Store at ihrsa.org/store.


The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and fitness promotion. Find an IHRSA club at healthclubs.com.