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Treadmills: More than 50 million people enjoy its 'sweat appeal' — especially seniors

SGMA reports treadmills are the 'King of Cardio' at home & in health clubs.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — October 13, 2008 – Treadmills remain immensely popular among fitness enthusiasts because they appeal to two different types of people – walkers and runners. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s fitness study, Tracking the Fitness Movement (2008 edition), the treadmill is number one in sales for the fitness equipment category and participation is quite strong, too.

In 2007, there were 50.1 million Americans who used a treadmill – ranking the category #1 among fitness machines. In the entire fitness/exercise category, only ‘working out free weights’ and ‘walking for fitness’ attracted more participants – 57.7 million and 108.7 million, respectively. Wholesales sales of treadmills exceeded $1 billion.

“Today’s treadmills are vastly different than the versions of 10 years ago as the modern machines are equipped with DVD players, miniature TVs, and are compatible with MP3 players. This blend of entertainment with exercise has helped the category grow,” said SGMA President Tom Cove.

There are other newsworthy aspects of the treadmill category and its 50.1 million users:

Aging Gracefully. There are more people over the age of 35 (29.8 million) using a treadmill than under the age of 35 (20.3 million).

Ladies First. 56% of all treadmill participants are female.

Motivated Participants. Of the 50.1 million treadmill users, 29.8 million of them (58%) are considered ‘core’ participants, i.e. somebody using the treadmill 50 days or more a year.

Senior Sensations. There are more Americans over the age of 55 using a treadmill (11.1 million) than those under the age of 25 using a treadmill (10.8 million).

Category Leader. There are 18.5 million ‘frequent’ users of a treadmill (i.e. those using the machine 100 days or more a year) which is more than the total participation for fitness/competitive swimming (18.4 million), yoga/tai chi (14.8 million), stair-climbing machines (13.5 million), aquatic exercise (9.8 million), Pilates Training (9.2 million), rowing machines (8.8 million), calisthenics (7.6 million), cardio kickboxing (4.8 million), and cross-country ski machines (3.7 million).

Soaring Sales. The treadmill is the #1 fitness machine in terms of sales as wholesale sales of treadmills (for use at home, in clubs, and in schools and institutions) were $1.25 billion, in 2007.

Home Sweet Home. Nearly half (47%) of all treadmill users work out on a treadmill more often at home.

Members of the editorial media are encouraged to reproduce and reprint any portion of Tracking the Fitness Movement, as long as SGMA is listed as the source. This report is available free of charge to full and associate members of SGMA. To order a copy of SGMA’s Tracking the Fitness Movement (2008 edition), access
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the owner of the Sports Research Partnership, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA enhances industry vitality and fosters sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. SGMA can be found at
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