Americans Plan to Increase Spending on Fitness in 2012

Although the majority of active Americans still did not spend money on sports and recreation in 2011, more active Americans plan to increase spending on fitness than decrease spending in 2012, according to the Physical Activity Council’s (PAC) 2012 Participation Report. That spending includes gym memberships.

PAC, a partnership of six trade associations in the sports, fitness and leisure industries, releases an activity report each year, tracking sports, fitness and recreation participation in the United States.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans still do not spend money on gym memberships. However, 6.4 percent plan to spend more on a fitness club membership in 2012 than in 2011 while 3.6 percent plan to spend less and 20.9 percent plan to spend the same.

In 2011, for those who spent money on a club membership, 20.8 percent spent more than in 2010, 18.1 percent spent less and 60.8 spent the same as in 2010.

Even though survey respondents plan to spend more on fitness in 2012, the number of inactive Americans (defined as those who did not participate in any high-calorie burning activities) increased in 2011 to 68.2 million compared to 67.2 million in 2010.

Breaking that figure down by ages, inactivity among children ages 6 to 12 fell slightly from 4.6 million people in 2010 to 4.5 million in 2011, but inactivity in adults ages 18 and older rose from 58.7 million in 2010 to 60 million in 2011.

Despite these numbers, 217 million Americans are considered active, meaning they participated in at least one of the 119 sports and activities measured.

Fitness sports remained the most popular physical activity. The participation rate held steady at 60 percent for the fourth year in a row. Fitness activities such as yoga, boot camp-style training and other classes continued to drive this set of activities.

“The 2012 Participation Report shows very clearly there’s a lot more work that needs to take place to get Americans more active,” said Tom Cove, president and CEO of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. “With 68.1 million people totally inactive, part of the country’s national agenda to reduce obesity and get health care costs in line has to include a component that addresses ways to get people off their couches and moving.”

The report measures overall levels of activity and identifies trends in 119 specific sports, fitness and recreation activities. The report was conducted by Sports Marketing USA, and the findings are based on an annual online survey of more than 38,000 Americans ages 6 and older.

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