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).