Few elements of health club training are as durable as the treadmill. According to the 2018 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report: “Reflecting an ongoing trend, over the past three years, treadmills have reigned as the most popular piece of equipment, with 43% of members using them.” And, says the report, treadmills are the top equipment choice of every single age demographic.
One reason for the enduring success of treadmills is that they serve as the ideal equipment for the most basic types of exercise: walking and running. While the simplicity of the treadmill is its strength, it’s also been a drawback. Many people associate the treadmill with boring, repetitive workouts.
This may be one reason why treadmills have been losing their overall grip on consumers in recent years. As IHRSA research shows, even though treadmills are still the most utilized equipment in health clubs, overall usage is down. From 2015-2017, treadmills declined 5% in overall popularity among members as younger exercisers gravitated to more specialized classes and training systems.
Now it appears the decline may be over. Recently, group trainers and fitness programmers have devised ways to incorporate the treadmill into the most popular exercise trends, such as HIIT and heart-rate training. It’s been a smashing success. According to an article in USA Today, “ClassPass analyzed more than 60 million reservations made in 2018, and found that there was an 82% increase in classes that incorporated treadmills from last year.”
If you’re a club owner, you need a treadmill strategy. Especially if your current units sit unused on the cardio floor.