Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Walking Still #1 Fitness Activity

Following is an article from Sporting Goods Business.

Exercise Walking Still Tops Activity List

Fueled by 4% growth in 2004, exercise walking, remains the No. 1 participation activity surveyed by the National Sporting Goods Association, a position it has held for more than a decade. Data contained in NSGA's annual "Sports Participation – Series I and II" reports, which will be available later this month, show 84.7 million Americans walked for exercise in 2004.

Camping, which replaced swimming as the No. 2 activity in 2002, held on to that spot by attracting 55.3 million Americans in 2004. Swimming grew 2% to 53.4 million participants and held the No. 3 position. Exercising with equipment, which rose 4% to 52.2 million participants, continues to grow and challenge swimming for the No. 3 position. Bowling rounded out the top five with 43.8 million (+4.6%).

Classic fitness activities included in the survey showed healthy growth in 2004, ranging from 1% to 8%. "Although the fitness percentage increases may seem modest compared to other activities, fitness activities have such a large base that the increase of a few percentage points translates into millions of people," NSGA VP/information & research Thomas Doyle said.

The leader in percentage growth among fitness activities was working out at a club (31.8 million), up 8%, followed by aerobic exercising, with an increase of 5.1%. Aerobic exercising attracted 29.5 million participants in 2004.
Also showing increases were exercising with equipment (up 3.9% to 52.2 million) and running/jogging (up 3.2% to 24.7 million). Weightlifting showed the lowest growth, up 1.4% to 26.2 million participants.

With the exception of a 5.3% decline in tackle football, team sports fared better in 2004 than in 2003. Volleyball, which has been in a long-term decline, showed the strongest growth among team sports, up 3.3% to 10.8 million participants.

Basketball, the highest-ranking team sport (27.8 million) was flat. Second-ranked baseball (15.9 million) was up 2.9%; third-ranked soccer (13.3 million), up 2.2%; and fourth-ranked softball (12.5 million) declined less than 1%.

For this survey, a participant is someone age seven or older who takes part in the sport or activity more than once in a calendar year. "Sports Participation in 2004 – Series I and II" cover 45 sports, recreation and fitness activities.

These reports have been published by NSGA for more than 20 years. They provide data on total 2004 participation, frequency of participation, and average number of participation days. Single-time participation, which is not counted in the total, is included separately.

For more information on pricing for these and other NSGA research reports, please contact the NSGA Research Department, (800) 815-5422, ext. 108, or e-mail: info@nsga.org. Information is also available on the NSGA web site, www.nsga.org.

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