No doubt, this is peak season for gym memberships as Americans determined to offset excess dining and drinking during the holiday season decide to get in better shape and start working out. While there are certainly spikes and troughs, gym membership has been growing steadily for at least a decade. With more than a third of American adults considered obese and more than half overweight, this may not be surprising.
Nationwide, gym membership has grown considerably in recent years. Just over 57 million, or approximately 20% of Americans, were members of health clubs in 2016 — an all-time high. Gym membership levels vary by state. To highlight the geographical perspective on the growing popularity of health clubs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed state-level data for 2006 and 2016 provided by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, a nonprofit trade and research organization.
The IHRSA measured the percentage of the population over 6-years-old who are members of health clubs — fitness facilities ranging from rooms full of ellipticals, weight-lifting centers, and yoga studios, to cycling classes, indoor rock climbing, and kickboxing gyms.
Of the 31 states with sufficient survey samples, the health club membership rate dropped in eight states and increased in 23 over the past decade. According to the IHRSA, the 57.3 million memberships nationwide resulted in 5.7 billion visits in 2016.