SILVER SPRING, MD -- The recession may have affected memberships and revenue at some facilities, but health club-related activities still proved popular in 2009, according to the “Sports, Fitness and Recreation Participation Overview” (2010 edition), recently released by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

Nine out of the top 15 athletic pursuits measured in the report were activities in which people could participate at fitness facilities. The most popular activity based on overall participation was walking for fitness, with 110 million participants. Although bowling came in second at 57.29 million, using the treadmill came in third at 51.42 million participants. Use of free weights (hand weights) ranked fourth at 45.93 million, and running/jogging came in fifth at 43.89 million.

Also ranking in the top 15 were use of weight/resistance machines (No. 9 with 39.75 million participants), stretching (No. 10 with 36.31 million), use of dumbbell free weights (No. 11 with 35.74 million), use of barbell free weights (No. 14 with 27.05 million) and use of elliptical motion trainers (No. 15 with 26.52 million).

The report also measured which activities had grown the most in the past 10 years. That honor went to Pilates, which grew 456 percent from 1.56 million participants in 2000 to 8.65 million in 2009. The elliptical trainer ranked second, increasing 260 percent from 7.37 million participants in 2000 to 26.52 million in 2009. Growth also occurred in group stationary cycling (45 percent growth from 4.7 million participants to 6.8 million), tennis (43 percent growth from 12.97 million to 18.53 million) and exercising to music (37 percent growth from 16 million to 22 million).