27 per cent of Americans belonged to a health club or studio in 2021
The total number of fitness membership is now 66.5 million – a new record
The figure comes from data collected by industry body IHRSA
The number of total visits to clubs, however, decreased from 6.7bn in 2019 to 4.5bn in 2021 during pandemic closures
More than one in five (27 per cent) Americans belonged to a health club or studio in 2021, with the total number of fitness membership reaching 66.5 million.
The figure, from industry body IHRSA, represents a 3.8 per cent growth over the past two years (since 2019) and is the highest ever recorded.
Liz Clark, IHRSA president and CEO, said: "It's a clear indication of the importance of the bricks and mortar component of the fitness industry that growth returned despite the lockdown of clubs, the severe governmental restrictions imposed, and the surge in digital offerings.
“It's also a strong testament to the value of clubs and studios, the importance of community, the quality of in-person instruction, and the expansive offerings of the on-site experience.”
It hasn't been all plain sailing for the industry, which is still feeling the after-effects of the pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.
The number of total visits decreased from 6.7bn in 2019 to 4.5bn in 2021. Meanwhile, the average number of annual visits to clubs per individual decreased from 109 to 72.
Both figures were impacted by the forced closures of facilities during lockdowns, as well as the slow return of adults to offices and the subsequent limited access to clubs.
Despite these COVID-related challenges, however, the IHRSA data indicates that the overall industry participation rate reached 21.8 per cent, the highest in history.
A more complete 2022 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report
will be published later this year. IHRSA will also release its 2022 Global Report