First quarter 2011 revenues increased 31 percent for Brunswick Corp.’s Life Fitness Division, according to financials released by the company yesterday. The Life Fitness Division consists of Life Fitness and Hammer Strength.

Fitness segment sales totaled $156.4 million, an increase from $119 million in first quarter 2010. International sales, which represent 55 percent of the division’s sales were up even more, rising 40 percent for the quarter. Commercial equipment sales benefited from a large order from one of the company’s customer categories during the quarter.

Operating earnings for the quarter were $23.4 million compared to $9.5 million in first quarter 2010. Improved operating earnings in the quarter reflect higher sales, a more favorable product mix and increased fixed-cost absorption, according to the company.

The company introduced several equipment upgrades in the first quarter. Its Elevation series cardio line was upgraded with a new console that allows users to read digital books and magazines. It introduced a hybrid energy-saving feature on its cross trainers and bikes. It also introduced a limited edition Augie’s Quest Lifecycle exercise bike at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association trade show in March.

“We actually experienced sales growth across all of our segments in fitness, and it was greater with larger clubs and bigger accounts, but in our smaller accounts in the U.S. and in the stronger economy areas of overseas like Asia and Germany and France, we experienced strong growth, so there really has not been a large variation in the growth we have seen,” Dusty McCoy, Brunswick CEO, said in a call with stockholders and analysts yesterday. “We have seen it across virtually all of our segments in fitness.”

Brunswick, based in Lake Forest, IL, as a whole also had improved revenue for the quarter, reporting $985.9 million in net sales compared to $844.4 million in the same period last year. Operating earnings were $67 million, up from $10.1 million in first quarter 2010. Brunswick’s main businesses are the marine engine and boat businesses, both of which have had a dramatic drop in sales during the recession.