CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The fitness industry loves to identify global trends in terms of activity -- what's hot and what's not. Actually, it's not so much that they love it, but rather they must be able to make accurate predictions for their industry to thrive.
The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association looks at fitness businesses, assesses the behavior of consumers in this industry and issues a list of trends that have made a significant mark and continue to attract interest.
Because I enjoy this kind of insider information, I thought you might too. Here are the top 10 health-club trends:
1. More people are working out in health clubs and fitness centers. Even though nationwide those who belong to a gym are far fewer than those who work out on their own, health-club and training memberships have grown more than 10 percent, despite the poor economy.
2. Programming specifically designed for Baby Boomers. This rapidly growing demographic is steering the industry. They are demanding functional training and more specialized club offerings with their age group in mind. They are also looking past the typical instructors and searching for instructors/trainers who are specifically certified to teach those who are 55-plus. Another interesting trend is that these Baby Boomers are retiring and looking for second careers in the fitness industry.
3. Programming specifically designed for youths. In the past five years, the number of health seekers in fitness centers under the age of 18 has doubled. With the alarming rise of childhood obesity and the federal focus on ways to get children moving, there is a huge demand on structured physical activity for this age group. Parents are desperate for safe places for their kids to play as well as programs that boost self-confidence.
(Note that Nos. 2 and 3 prove that age-specific programming is both popular and essential as one size does not fit all.)