Tennis on the Rise; Aerobics Declines

MOUNT PROSPECT, IL -- Tennis participation is on the increase, but aerobics participation has declined, according to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).

Among sports and recreation activities with 10 million or more participants, tennis experienced the highest growth rate in 2007, growing 18.7 percent to 12.3 million Americans, according to data contained in NSGA’s annual “Sports Participation – Series I and II” reports.

Among fitness activities, only aerobic exercising, with 30.3 million participants in 2007, showed a significant decline (9.9 percent). Some of the decline may have come from the inclusion of yoga in the survey for the first time. Yoga attracted 10.7 million participants in 2007.

Other sports and recreation activities showing less than 5 percent growth in 2007 include weightlifting (0.9 percent to 33.2 million participants) and exercising with equipment (0.8 percent to 52.8 million participants).

Sports and recreation activities showing 5 percent to 10 percent growth included volleyball (8.7 percent to 12 million participants); running/jogging (5.5 percent to 30.4 million participants); and bicycle riding (5 percent to 37.4 million participants).

Among team sports, only volleyball, which had been in decline the past three years, showed an increase. Soccer slipped 1.8 percent to 13.8 million participants; baseball, 4.7 percent to 14 million participants; basketball, 9.7 percent to 24.1 million participants; and softball, 20 percent to 10 million participants.

Exercise walking, the No. 1 sports and recreation activity with 89.8 million participants, grew 2.7 percent in 2007.

For this survey, a participant is someone 7 years old or older who takes part in the sport or activity more than once in a calendar year. “Sports Participation in 2007 – Series I and II” cover 47 sports, recreation, and fitness activities. Participation rates for all 47 sports surveyed may be viewed on the NSGA website (

These reports have been published by NSGA for more than 25 years. They provide data on total 2007 participation, frequency of participation, and average number of participation days. Single-time participation, which is not counted in the total, is included separately.

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