HASTINGS, MN -- A recent consumer survey finds that the majority of Americans are unwilling to give up their fitness club memberships in a tightening economy, but many are taking cost into consideration.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corp. and sponsored by Anytime Fitness, found that of those already belonging to health clubs, 60 percent said they will keep their current memberships. Another 23 percent plan to keep their memberships but downsize to more affordable health clubs.

“This just goes to show how important health and fitness are to Americans,” says Mark Daly, national media director for Anytime Fitness. “People might be looking for ways to cut back on expenses, but they continue to recognize the value of fitness and a healthy lifestyle.”

When choosing health clubs, 54 percent of those surveyed said that cost is the most important factor they consider. An additional 21 percent ranked convenience or atmosphere as top considerations.

Some 43 percent of those surveyed said health and weight loss were the primary motivators to start or stick with an exercise program. Only 16 percent of those surveyed said that improving their appearance motivated them most, while 8 percent said they worked out primarily to reduce stress.