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Irwin Broh Study: Exercise In Gyms May Be On Upswing

Business • April 9, 2021

DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (April 9, 2021) – Consumers have not reported an increase in active gym memberships since September, but the percentage who consider themselves non-members has declined, according to the latest wave of a survey by Irwin Broh Research exploring the shift in consumers’ fitness habits and future purchase behaviors from the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, consumers are now more likely to be planning to maintain an active membership or reinstate a lapsed membership than they were last year.

In terms of exercise habits, the percentage of consumers reporting they were exercising at the gym by themselves dropped sharply from January/February to May of 2020, and further dropped from May to September, but has gained back some ground between September and March 2021. The percentage of consumers who indicated they were exercising at home by themselves increased by several points between January and May 2020, was largely flat from May to September, and then increased several points more between September and March 2021.

Irwin Broh Fitness Participation

In each wave of the survey, just more than one-third of respondents reported owning a piece of large home fitness equipment, but the percentage who plan to buy a large piece of equipment declined in September before mostly rebounding in March 2021.

The latest wave of the survey was conducted March 2-10, 2021 among 1,461 consumers age 18 or older who are members of a national online consumer panel. In total, 82% (1,194) of these consumers said they are currently participating in fitness activities.

Making the cost of participation more affordable for all is important, which is why NSGA has been lobbying for the passing of the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act. This legislation would allow Americans to use Pre-Tax Medical Accounts, such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), to reimburse physical activity expenses, thus helping to alleviate the financial barrier to participation.

For more information about the PHIT Act as well as downloadable resources to use in spreading the word on social media, visit the following link.

For those interested in additional findings from the study, Irwin Broh will be hosting a webinar April 15, 2021. Registration for the webinar can be found at the following link For further information regarding the study, contact Melissa DeLuca at