Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers are comprised and defined as establishments primarily engaged in operating fitness and recreational sports facilities featuring exercise and other active physical fitness conditioning or recreational sports activities, such as swimming, skating, or racquet sports. Illustrative examples for this industry include: aerobic dance or exercise centers, gymnasiums, handball, racquetball, or tennis club facilities, ice or roller skating rinks, physical fitness centers, swimming or wave pools.
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There are two types of gym classification, which can be split as either government facilities or non-government facilities. Most of government facilities are local or county owned and operated pools, ice skating rinks, or tennis courts. Various local or county governments have also been known to offer fitness center and health class services on a public. Such facilities, however, must show evidence of performing measurable economic transactions in order to retain such licensing. Non-government establishments can be founded as for profit or non-profit. Because of this many government founded programs contract privately owned facilities rather than building their own (Schlosberg, Neporent 2005).
The main consumer output of this industry is the purpose of exercise or other active physical fitness conditioning or recreational sports activity. It is important to keep in mind that the facility must provide space and equipment for active physical activities. Instructional or educational classes, which are provided at the facility or at a secondary facility that is receiving rent from the primary establishment, are also included as primary output for the industry. Further revenue derived from the rental and leasing of goods and equipment, used in specific recreational or sport activities are also included as consumer output. For membership clubs, service is made available to people who have paid a membership fee. In addition, non-members are normally able to purchase use of the facility for a one-time fee (Sutton 2007).
Fitness and recreational sports centers provide a highly demanded service to the general population of the United States and most other developed nations. In general, they provide places to exercise using cardio equipment, free weights and weight machines, as well as offer classes geared towards healthy living and physical fitness. Within this industry, one can also find fitness centers and sports facilities, which provide space and equipment for recreational sporting activities, such as racquet ball, basketball, and swimming (Kopylovsky, 2010).
The number of Americans who exercise frequently in a health club has been steadily growing since 1987. This at the expense of total Americans who exercise at home. However, this report also explains that the movement to exercise, in general, has been gaining momentum over the past several years. This is due, in part, to the 1996 U.S. Surgeon Generalâ€™s Report on Physical Activity and Health and the widespread availability of fitness centers (IBISworld, 2010).
The ever-growing interest by Americans to get in shape and improve oneâ€™s health has not only caused a steady increase in fitness center membership, it has also brought about a steady escalation in the number of fitness centers in the United States. With steadily increasing annual membership totals for the fitness and recreational sport center industry and the fact that over 85% of Americans do not yet have fitness club memberships, one would anticipate continued growth potential. (Plummer, 1999)
Despite an ailing U.S. economy over the past two years, profitability has remained strong for the fitness and recreational sports industry. Although Americans on average have been allotted with less disposable income over the past decade, they appear to still be using what disposable income they have to pay for membership and class fees at health clubs. This is not to say that revenues would not be higher if the economy were healthier. According to to recent statistical data, though with an ailing economy net revenue and memberships are still rising but at a much lower level. Still, views of the U.S. public on health and fitness, as well as the industries ability to adapt and improve its services over the years, seem to have made the fitness and recreational sports club industry somewhat more immune to overall dips in the U.S. economy than most other industries. (IBISworld, 2010)
Seasonality within the fitness center market plays a very minor role in services offered. Though this depends upon the region where specific facilities are located and whether or not the facility is indoors or outdoors. As an example an outdoor ice skating rink under normal circumstances would not be open during the summer months. An outdoor basketball court would not be open during the winter in an area where it is very cold. However, most fitness and recreational sports facilities are open year round.
Almost all various demographic groups of the United States population take advantage of the services offered by the fitness and recreational sport center industry. Male and Female, young and old, representatives of all backgrounds and regions of the country, make up the total population of fitness center members. As the number of total fitness club members increases, reports show that younger individuals around the ages of 24 and younger out weigh the older members age 45 and older.
Defined memberships include individual memberships for various age groups, such as adult, youth, and senior, as well as group memberships, such as family and corporate memberships. Family memberships will normally offer access to a facility/facilities by a predetermined number of family members for one specific fee. Corporate memberships will offer reduced rates to individuals, who work for a specific company which many times has an agreement with a specific club. Seasonal passes for public recreation and fitness facilities are also included in this grouping. Seasonal passes function the same way as memberships, though many seasonal passes may include more restrictive privileges.
Instructional classes offer lessons or instruction in the areas of physical fitness and health. Examples of such classes include kickboxing, yoga, and step aerobics. Instructional classes normally have a predetermined length many times ranging from thirty minutes to an hour. Traditionally classes are bought as a package and therefore given a predetermined number of lessons offered for a specific fee.
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The Elderly And Exercise
The benefits for elderly individuals of regular participation in both cardiovascular and resistance-training programmes are great. Health benefits include a significant reduction in risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance, hypertension and obesity as well as improvements in bone density, muscle mass, arterial compliance and energy metabolism. Additionally, increases in cardiovascular fitness (maximal oxygen consumption and endurance), muscle strength and overall functional capacity are forthcoming allowing elderly individuals to maintain their independence, increase levels of spontaneous physical activity and freely participate in activities associated with daily living. Taken together, these benefits associated with involvement in regular exercise can significantly improve the quality of life in elderly populations. It is noteworthy that the quality and quantity of exercise necessary to elicit important health benefits will differ from that needed to produce significant gains in fitness.
However, it must be noted that the benefits described are of little value if elderly individuals do not become involved in regular exercise regimens. Consequently, the major challenges facing healthcare professionals today concern: (i) the implementation of educational programmes designed to inform elderly individuals of the health and
functional benefits associated with regular physical activity as well as how safe and effective such programmes can be; and (ii) design interventions that will both increase involvement in regular exercise as well as improve adherence and compliance to such programmes.
Industry Life Cycle
The Gym, Health and Fitness Clubs industry is in the growth stage of its life cycle due to an increased awareness and interest in fitness and health, and the need for exercise. Membership numbers are expected to grow an average of 1.2% over the ten years to 2015. In the ten years to 2015, industry revenue is expected to grow by 2.5% per year, in comparison with forecast GDP growth of 1.8% over the same period.
In addition to demand, the industry has also benefited from an increase in premium services. For example, more and more people are now enlisting personal trainers to help them achieve their fitness goals. Additionally, gyms and health clubs are increasingly offering amenities such as swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzis, basketball courts, massage services and yoga classes to boost sales and retention.
There is also evidence that spending on gym and fitness club memberships is becoming less discretionary, as perceptions change. Government and private support for participation in fitness activities is increasing as organizations recognize the benefits of exercise for productivity, health and cost reasons. This has resulted in more employers and insurers establishing programs and incentives for people to go to the gym. This boosts the claim that, while the industry may currently be in its growth phase, maturity may be around the corner.
Future growth areas will likely be in participative sports for women and the older sections of the community; and in individual sports rather than team sports. These factors will support continued growth for gyms and health clubs over the coming five years.
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