When planning your gym, it’s crucial to consider the demographics of your target market. What age group uses the gym the most? What do the different age groups look for in a gym? Can you target them all, or is it better to pick a niche? Firstly, all gym-goers, regardless of age, will appreciate a clean, well-organized gym with convenient features (such as gym check-in software). But if you’ve already got that covered and are ready to attract a specific membership, then keep reading.
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What age group goes to the gym the most?
According to the IHRSA, Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1999) hold 33 percent of gym memberships in the US, the largest of any age group. Next up is Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1979) with 24 percent. Baby Boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964) come in third with 22 percent. The rest is made up of Gen Z (those born in the year 2000 and later) at 14 percent and the Silent Generation (those born before 1945) at 7 percent.
Which age group exercises the most? Just because Millennials hold the most gym memberships doesn’t mean they actually spend the most time at the gym. That title goes to the Baby Boomers, who visit the gym an average of 131 times annually. By comparison, Gen Z only goes to the gym an average of 71 times annually.
Demographics Of Gym Members
It’s not entirely surprising that different age groups prefer different types of fitness activities. Here are some exercise statistics by age group:
- Gen Z largely prefers group fitness settings, and 62 percent of Gen Z gym-goers belong to a YMCA or other non-profit fitness center.
- Millennials favor activities such as yoga and HIIT. Non-coincidentally, this age group is also the most likely to belong to a boutique fitness center.
- Gen X are most attracted to a traditional commercial gym, and they most often utilize cardio machines and weight training equipment.
- Unsurprisingly, gym-goers belonging to the Baby Boomer and older generations prefer low-impact activities, such as elliptical machines and water aerobics.
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Should my gym focus on attracting younger or older members?
The two highest-growing age brackets in the US are the old (those aged over 55) and the very young (those under 18). Understand that you can’t be everything to everybody, and there are pros and cons no matter which age group you aim for. Before you pick your target audience, there are several factors to consider.
Disposable income typically rises with age, which can certainly benefit your business in many ways. Does your gym have a focus or niche that would appeal to the younger set, or is it more of a general gym set-up? What is your branding like? Do you have the space for group classes and activities — or conversely, a pool?
Can you accommodate the specific needs of older or younger age groups? For younger gym-goers, this might include childcare or after-school programs. Older gym-goers will appreciate personal trainers knowledgeable about arthritis and osteoporosis. Your answers to these questions will likely reveal a lot about the better course of action for your gym.
The Bottom Line: What is the average age of gym-goers?
It turns out that Millennials are most likely to buy a gym membership, but Baby Boomers are the most likely to actually use their gym memberships. However, due to age-related exercise preferences, your gym’s membership demographics may be completely different. Get to know your unique client base so that you can best serve their needs, and if you decide to branch out to attract different age groups, do so in ways that complement your current business without alienating your existing clientele.
If you’re ready to take your gym operations to the next level, Exercise.com can help. Book a demo to learn more.