In the 21st century fitness is about more than just delivering individual-level health benefits. With the specter of obesity, an aging population and an enduring economic downturn, we have the national economy to consider.
In 2009 Fitness Australia commissioned Access Economics to conduct research to quantify the economic contribution of fitness centres to the Australian economy.
Although there are a number of similarities between the Australian and UK fitness industries and demographics, the reader should be wary of making direct comparisons. However, this said, the observations and general principles throughout the report can be applied to both nations.
Australia vs. The UK
- Obesity rate: 21.7% vs. 23.0%
- % with Gym Membership: 7.0% vs 12%
Top Points from the Research
- Helps to lower direct health care costs.
- Aid illness prevention and health promotion which can have considerable benefits to the workforce by enhancing participation and productivity.
- Potential for preventative health measures such as the services provided through Australia’s fitness centres to reduce direct the burden of avoidable illness.
Quoted research asserts that membership in a sports and recreation club increased the
likelihood of achieving the recommended level of activity by 2.5 times.
Without fitness centres, it is expected there would be lower levels of exercise and health in the
- A substantial segment of fitness centre clientele would, in the absence of those centres, be expected to reduce their exercise levels below that necessary to provide health
- Without fitness centres direct healthcare costs would be expected to increase.
- Fitness can help to increase labour force participation and workforce productivity.
Improvements in community health
generated by Australia’s fitness centres have flow‐on effects across the economy.
increase in effective labour supply leads to additional economic activity and national income (+GDP, +employment and +household consumption).
Access Economics & Fitness Australia (2009) Let’s Get Physical: The Economic Contribution of Fitness Centres in Australia. Available from World Wide Web: https://secure.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/459880/FitnessAust_EconomicContributionFitnessCentresAustralia.pdf. [Accessed: 24 August, 2013].
- Gyms and Fitness Centres in Australia Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld (virtual-strategy.com)
- Gyms & Fitness Centres in the UK Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld (virtual-strategy.com)
- The economics of fitness (bootcampmilitaryfitnessinstitute.wordpress.com)