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Exercise Trends - US - October 2016

"Fitness facilities and gym memberships have increased in tandem in the last decade, showing that Americans have an increased interest in getting fit. However, even though more are reportedly exercising regularly, obesity rates continue to climb, indicating that adults haven’t been able to offset poor diets with exercise alone."
- Dana Macke, Senior Lifestyle and Leisure Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Most adults are already regular exercisers
  • Low maintenance exercises have the greatest appeal
  • Exercisers have an “all or nothing” attitude

Given that three out of every four Americans say they exercise regularly (at least weekly), there is little room for marketers to grow the fitness market by converting non-exercisers into exercisers. The larger opportunity for fitness brands is moving exercisers up the skill/frequency ladder – converting walkers to runners and weekly exercisers to daily exercisers – in the hopes that more advanced exercisers will have a greater interest in products and services to augment their exercise routines. One way to initiate this transition is to exploit exercisers’ desire for variety – a quarter of exercisers say they are inspired to work out by trying new types of exercise.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The issues
            • Most adults are already regular exercisers
              • Figure 1: Exercise frequency, July 2016
            • Low maintenance exercises have the greatest appeal
              • Figure 2: Types of exercise – Select items, July 2016
            • Exercisers have an “all or nothing” attitude
              • Figure 3: Attitudes toward exercise – Select items, Any agree, July 2016
            • The opportunities
              • Improving health is the primary goal of exercisers
                • Figure 4: Exercise motivations – Select items, July 2016
              • Wearable fitness trackers are the greatest opportunity for new products
                • Figure 5: Usage of fitness products and services – Select items, July 2016
              • Seeing is believing
                • Figure 6: Exercise inspiration – Select items, July 2016
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • More gym facilities leads to more gym members (or the other way around)
                  • Exercise is increasingly popular, but hasn’t helped obesity rates
                    • Exercisers find value in gym memberships
                      • Time spent on social media leaves little left for fitness
                      • The Fitness Market

                        • Gym memberships on the rise
                          • Figure 7: Total (US) health club memberships (millions), 2005-15
                        • Uptick in number of US health clubs to meet burgeoning demand
                          • Figure 8: Total number of (US) health clubs, 2005-15
                          • Figure 9: Popular US health and fitness clubs and approximate number of locations, 2016
                        • Regular exercise becoming more common
                          • Figure 10: Share who exercise regularly, 2004-16
                      • Market Factors

                        • Participation in traditional exercise types remains stable
                          • Figure 11: Type of exercise participated in – Every chance I get, 2004-16
                        • Teens may be losing fitness motivation
                          • Figure 12: Type of exercise participated in – Every chance I get, 2006-16
                        • High levels of obesity persist
                          • Figure 13: Percentage of overweight and obese Americans, 2000-14
                        • Nearly half meet standards for cardio fitness, but far fewer lift weights
                          • Figure 14: Percentage of adults aged 18 and over who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activity through leisure-time activity: United States, 1997–2014
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Fitness fans more likely to join a gym than stay home
                          • Figure 15: Exercise location, 2004-16
                        • Low-cost gyms count on low attendance
                          • Increased screen time may reduce time allotted to exercise
                            • Lack of physical education in schools may lead to sedentary adults
                              • Figure 16: Percentage of schools that require students to take physical education, 2010, 2012, 2016
                          • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                            • Popular fitness trends provide more than just a workout
                              • Exercise that hurts so good
                                • It’s okay to try this at home
                                  • Road races search for a new audience
                                    • New ways to wear wearables
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Fitness trend? Fitness brand? Fitness cult?
                                        • Have we reached peak “30-day Challenge”?
                                          • Brands feature the best of fitness, by showing the worst
                                            • Figure 17: Bent Not Broken – Full Commercial – Rogue Fitness, July 2016
                                            • Figure 18: Under Armour | Rule Yourself | USA Women’s Gymnastics, February 2016
                                            • Figure 19: Reebok – Find Your Way – Be More Human, July 2016
                                          • Walking helps take away the pain (and the gain)
                                            • Figure 20: Sketchers Ad – GOwalk 4
                                          • Workouts that are really, really, really short
                                            • Streaming platforms bring fitness classes to the living room
                                              • Think vertical
                                                • Fitness stars on social media
                                                • What’s Struggling?

                                                  • The “trophy generation” moves away from competitive fitness
                                                    • Figure 21: US finishers of road races, by distance, 2014-15
                                                    • Figure 22: Avid runners, April 2004-June 2016
                                                  • Team sports lack bench strength
                                                    • Figure 23: Kids’ participation in popular sports, January 2009-December 2015
                                                • What’s Next?

                                                  • Exercise in a bottle (or pill)
                                                    • The new and next in fitness tech
                                                      • Figure 24: Under Armour | Connected Life, January 2016
                                                    • Physical fitness for mental health
                                                      • Figure 25: Introducing Headstrong, April 2016
                                                    • VR takes fitness to the next dimension
                                                      • Figure 26: VirZOOM Tutorial – Stampede, December 2015
                                                      • Figure 27: Widerun – Kickstarter Video, April 2015
                                                      • Figure 28: Goji Play Demo – How to Set Up Guilt Free Gaming & Get Fit, July 0215
                                                    • Back to basics
                                                      • Figure 29: #NPSUMMIT 4.0, July 2016
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • 75% are regular exercisers
                                                      • Walking is the most common form of exercise
                                                        • Exercisers are mostly interesting in improving health
                                                          • Most exercisers make do with little or no fitness equipment
                                                            • Looking and feeling better motivates healthy habits
                                                              • Fitness is a priority for more than half
                                                              • Exercise Frequency

                                                                  • Three in four exercise regularly
                                                                    • Figure 30: Exercise frequency, July 2016
                                                                  • Adults aged 25-34 are the most likely to exercise regularly
                                                                    • Figure 31: Exercise frequency – At least once a week, by age, July 2016
                                                                  • Men cite higher frequency of exercise
                                                                    • Figure 32: Exercise frequency, by gender, July 2016
                                                                  • High household income correlated with regular exercise
                                                                    • Figure 33: Exercise frequency– At least once a week, by household income, July 2016
                                                                    • Figure 34: Premature mortality rate per 100,000, by household income, 2010
                                                                  • Lack of motivation prevents some from staying active
                                                                    • Figure 35: Barriers to regular exercise, July 2016
                                                                • Types of Exercise

                                                                    • The best exercise in life is free
                                                                      • Figure 36: Types of exercise, July 2016
                                                                    • Low impact exercise options appeal to women
                                                                      • Figure 37: Types of exercise, by gender, July 2016
                                                                    • Walking replaces running as people age
                                                                      • Figure 38: Types of exercise – Walking and running/jogging, by age, July 2016
                                                                    • Walking is the overwhelming choice for low-impact exercise
                                                                      • Figure 39: Types of exercise – Baby Boomers, July 2016
                                                                    • Team sports may be losing favor to alternative options
                                                                      • Figure 40: Types of exercise – Select items, by iGeneration vs Millennial, July 2016
                                                                    • Those with low body weight choose high impact activities
                                                                      • Figure 41: FabUplus magazine featuring Jessamyn Stanley cover photo, Fall, 2016
                                                                      • Figure 42: Types of exercise, by BMI category, July 2016
                                                                  • Exercise Motivations

                                                                      • When it comes to motivation, health trumps looks
                                                                        • Figure 43: Exercise motivations, July 2016
                                                                      • Women exercise for a variety of reasons
                                                                        • Figure 44: Exercise motivations, by gender, July 2016
                                                                      • Health is a higher priority for older Americans
                                                                        • Figure 45: Exercise motivations – Select items, by age, July 2016
                                                                      • Overweight adults exercise with a purpose
                                                                        • Figure 46: Exercise motivations – To lose weight, by BMI category, July 2016
                                                                    • Fitness Purchases

                                                                        • A minority of exercisers have plans to purchase new equipment
                                                                          • Figure 47: Usage of fitness products and services, July 2016
                                                                        • Sport-specific gyms may grow among young fitness fans
                                                                          • Figure 48: Interest in fitness products/services – Sport-specific gym memberships, by age, July 2016
                                                                        • Young generations see the appeal of the class pass
                                                                          • Figure 49: Interest in fitness products/services – Fitness passes, by generation, July 2016
                                                                        • BMI has little relationship to fitness purchases
                                                                          • Figure 50: Interest in fitness products/services, by BMI, July 2016
                                                                      • Exercise Inspiration

                                                                          • Feeling better and looking better create an exercise habit
                                                                            • Figure 51: Exercise inspiration, July 2016
                                                                          • Women seek out inspiration to stay motivated
                                                                            • Figure 52: Exercise inspiration, by gender, July 2016
                                                                          • Social support more important for younger exercisers
                                                                            • Figure 53: Exercise inspiration – Social, by age, July 2016
                                                                          • Setting targets helps with long-term fitness goals
                                                                            • Figure 54: Exercise inspiration, by BMI category, July 2016
                                                                        • Attitudes toward Exercise

                                                                            • Fitness is a priority, but a regular routine can be hard to maintain
                                                                              • Being in good shape, can mean any shape
                                                                                • No (financial) pain, no gain?
                                                                                  • Figure 55: Attitudes toward exercise – Any agree, July 2016
                                                                                • Men seek a more intense workout
                                                                                  • Figure 56: Attitudes toward exercise – Any agree – Select items, by gender, July 2016
                                                                                • Younger consumers more accepting of all shapes and sizes
                                                                                  • Figure 57: Attitudes toward exercise – Any agree – Perception of fitness, by age, July 2016
                                                                                • High household income related to spending on fitness
                                                                                  • Figure 58: Attitudes toward exercise – Any agree – Purchases, by household income, July 2016
                                                                                • White Americans need more exercise motivation
                                                                                  • Figure 59: Attitudes toward exercise – Any agree – Motivational needs, by race, July 2016
                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                  • Sales data
                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                      • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                          • Appendix – Market

                                                                                              • Figure 60: Health club memberships (millions), 2005-15
                                                                                              • Figure 61: Total number of (US) health clubs, 2005-15
                                                                                              • Figure 62: Exercise location, 2004-16
                                                                                              • Figure 63: Type of exercise participated in – Every chance I get, 2004-16
                                                                                              • Figure 64: Share who exercise regularly, 2004-16
                                                                                              • Figure 65: Percentage of adults aged 18 and over who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity through leisure-time aerobic activity: United States, 1997–2014

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                                                                                          Exercise Trends - US - October 2016

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