MINDBODY recently released the results of its annual report on fitness in America. Taking a closer look at how Americans are trying to stay healthy, the report contains key insights for fitness business owners looking to understand their members’ wants and needs, including their preferences for group exercise classes. So which types of exercise make the cut? Read on for a breakdown.

How People Are Exercising

When it comes to the most popular facility-based group exercise, yoga definitely comes out ahead. A remarkable 25 percent of American say they participate in yoga classes at least once a week. 

Weight/strength training claims the second-place spot at 17 percent followed by Zumba or similar dance fitness classes at 15 percent. The top ten is rounded out by dance (12 percent), spinning/cycling (12 percent), aerobics (12 percent), cardio machines (11 percent), CrossFit (10 percent), HIIT (9 percent); kickboxing (9 percent). Also seeing interest at lesser levels were recreation/team sports (8 percent), Pilates (8 percent), martial arts (7 percent), boot camp (6 percent), gymnastics (5 percent), gentle martial arts, such as Tai Chi (4 percent), barre (4 percent), rock climbing (3 percent), aerial workouts (3 percent), pole dancing (3 percent), and Gyrotonic (2 percent). 

For outdoor/social group exercises, walking came out ahead with 18 percent of people participating it in at least once a week. Running, swimming, biking, and hiking followed walking at 15 percent, 11 percent, 9 percent, and 8 percent, respectively. 

How People Want to Exercise in the Future

Understanding how people are exercising in the here and now is important. Perhaps equally critical is understanding how they’ll be exercising in the future. In other words, what exercises do people want to try most? 

Yoga came out ahead here, too, with 14 percent of regular exercisers across all age groups expressing interest in trying it. It was rivaled only by swimming, which also came in at 14 percent. Kickboxing, CrossFit, and biking tied in third place spot at 13 percent, while hiking and weight/strength training tied for fourth. Trailing in the fifth spot were aerobics, cardio machines, and martial arts — each at 11 percent. 

Person swimming in a pool lane.

It’s also worth noting that interest varies according to generation. For example, while younger people expressed interest in more “vigorous” activities like kickboxing and CrossFit, these two contenders didn’t even enter the top 10 for people in the world group. 

While not all of these are classes, all represent opportunities for enterprising fitness businesses. For example, introducing a group exercise class has the opportunity to boost interest and engagement. 

Wondering why yoga is having such a moment? According to the report, its “universal appeal” is because it’s not just about physical health, but also often takes a more holistic approach to wellness; 40 percent of respondents said they’d attended or were interested in attending mediation workshops, 30 percent expressed interested in nutrition workshops, and 28 percent were drawn to breathing workshops.  This ties in with the fact that while losing weight and looking better are still factors that drive people out, many people are hitting the gym in the hopes of feeling good and living longer, healthier lives. 

One last thing to keep in mind is that while many people want to lead healthier lives, time and money are major constraints in helping them achieve this goal. In providing more information, wearables have the potential to increase efficiency, satisfaction, and member retention.  To learn more about what fitness monitoring technology can do for your business, request a demo today.