SGMA: Treadmills Remain #1 Fitness Machine

In 2007, 50.1 million Americans used a treadmill, enough to retain  the top spot among fitness machines, according to SGMA’s new fitness study, Tracking the Fitness Movement.  That marked a slight decline from the 52.2 million treadmill participants in 2006. But the slight drop comes after years of steady growth. In 2000, only 37.7 million Americans used treadmills at least once a year.


In the entire fitness/exercise category, only ‘working out free weights’ and ‘walking for fitness’ attracted more participants in 2007-57.7 million and 108.7 million, respectively. Wholesale sales of treadmills exceeded $1 billion last year.


The study found that of the 50.1 million treadmill users last year, 29.8 million (58%) are considered  ‘core’ participants, or somebody who uses the treadmill 50 days or more a year.  Of those, 18.5 million (37%) were deemed ‘frequent’ users (those using the machine 100 days or more a year). SGMA noted that the frequent user” rate was barely ahead of fitness/competitive swimming (18.4 million), but significantly ahead of several other core categories: yoga/tai chi (14.8 million), stair-climbing machines (13.5 million), aquatic exercise (9.8 million), Pilates Training (9.2 million), rowing machines (8.8 million), calisthenics (7.6 million), cardio kickboxing (4.8 million), and cross-country ski machines (3.7 million).

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SGMA: Treadmills Remain #1 Fitness Machine

In 2007, there were 50.1 million Americans who used a treadmill-ranking the category #1 among fitness machines, according to a Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s fitness study, Tracking the Fitness Movement (2008 edition). In the entire fitness/exercise category, only ‘working out free weights’ and ‘walking for fitness’ attracted more participants-57.7 million and 108.7 million, respectively. Wholesales sales of treadmills exceeded $1 billion.

“Today’s treadmills are vastly different than the versions of 10 years ago as the modern machines are equipped with DVD players, miniature TVs, and are compatible with MP3 players. This blend of entertainment with exercise has helped the category grow,” said SGMA president Tom Cove.

There are other newsworthy aspects of the treadmill category and its 50.1 million users:

  • Aging Gracefully. There are more people over the age of 35 (29.8 million) using a treadmill than under the age of 35 (20.3 million).
  • Ladies First. 56% of all treadmill participants are female.
  • Motivated Participants. Of the 50.1 million treadmill users, 29.8 million of them (58%) are considered ‘core’ participants, i.e. somebody using the treadmill 50 days or more a year.
  • Senior Sensations. There are more Americans over the age of 55 using a treadmill (11.1 million) than those under the age of 25 using a treadmill (10.8 million).
  • Category Leader. There are 18.5 million ‘frequent’ users of a treadmill (i.e. those using the machine 100 days or more a year) which is more than the total participation for fitness/competitive swimming (18.4 million), yoga/tai chi (14.8 million), stair-climbing machines (13.5 million), aquatic exercise (9.8 million), Pilates Training (9.2 million), rowing machines (8.8 million), calisthenics (7.6 million), cardio kickboxing (4.8 million), and cross-country ski machines (3.7 million).
  • Soaring Sales. The treadmill is the #1 fitness machine in terms of sales as wholesale sales of treadmills (for use at home, in clubs, and in schools and institutions) were $1.25 billion, in 2007.
  • Home Sweet Home. Nearly half (47%) of all treadmill users work out on a treadmill more often at home.

The report is available free of charge to full and associate members of SGMA.

About The Author

Thomas J. Ryan

Thomas J. Ryan Senior Business Editor | SGB Media tryan@sgbonline.com | 917.375.4699

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