MOUNT PROSPECT, IL — In spite of a 3 percent decline, exercise walking remains the No. 1 participation activity surveyed by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), a position it has held for more than a decade. Data contained in NSGA's annual “Sports Participation-Series I and II” reports, shows 79.5 million Americans walked for exercise in 2003.

Camping, which replaced swimming as the No. 2 activity in 2002, attracted 51.4 million Americans in 2003. In spite of a 7.2 percent decline, camping remains ahead of exercising with equipment, which rose 4 percent to 48.6 million participants and secured the No. 3 position. Swimming slipped to No. 4 with 47 million participants, an 11 percent decline. Bowling rounded out the top five with 39.4 million.

After a strong showing in 2002, fitness activities showed modest growth or declines in 2003. The leader in percentage growth among fitness activities according to the report was exercising with equipment, up 4 percent, followed closely by weightlifting, with an increase of 3.1 percent. Weightlifting attracted 25.9 million participants in 2003. In 2003, 29.5 million people indicated they worked out a club, a 1.9 percent increase vs. 2002 figures, the NSGA said.

Showing modest declines were exercise walking (-3.3 percent to 79.5 million) and aerobic exercising (-3.4 percent to 28.0 million).

Running/jogging drew 22.9 million participants, a decline of 7.3 percent.


Check out From the Lip on p. 34 for Michael Scott Scudder's take on “Commoditization Could Be In the Future.”