Mount Prospect, IL — In 2008, the number of people who worked out at a club increased to 39.3 million people, according to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA). That made working out at a club the No. 8 participant activity in NSGA's annual “Sports Participation — Series I and II” reports. In 2007, the survey ranked working out at a club at No. 10 with 33.8 million participants.
The data also showed that exercise walking, which experienced 7.6 percent growth in 2008, remains the No. 1 participant activity, a position it has held since 1990. In 2008, 96.6 million Americans walked for exercise. In 2007, exercise walking had 89.8 million participants.
Swimming, with a 6.1 percent increase, moved ahead of exercising with equipment for the No. 2 spot. With its increase, swimming attracted 63.5 million participants. Exercising with equipment attracted 63 million participants, placing it in the No. 3 position. Last year's survey showed that 52.8 million participants exercised with equipment.
Bowling claimed 49.5 million participants for the No. 4 spot. Camping (vacation/overnight) claimed the No. 5 spot with 49.4 million participants.
New to the Top 10 was hiking with 38 million participants. This pulled it to the No. 9 position. Falling from the Top 10 was power boating, which dropped to No. 15 after a 13 percent decline in participation (27.8 million participants).
Rounding out the Top 10 were bicycle riding, No. 6 with 44.7 million participants; fishing, No. 7 with 42.2 million participants; and weight lifting, No. 10 with 37.5 million participants.
For the survey, a participant is someone age 7 or older who takes part in a sport or activity more than once in a calendar year. “Sports Participation in 2008 — Series I and II” cover 41 sports, recreation and fitness activities. Participation rates for all 41 sports surveyed may be viewed on NSGA's Web site at www.nsga.org.