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Why Do People Join Gyms?

The recommendation coming from the Department of Health and Human Services is that an adult engages in at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity and that you strength train all major muscle groups twice a week.

Those are generally accepted recommendations, but why are people getting up at ungodly hours to exercise? There are numerous reasons why you should go to the gym, as points out, and many personal reasons that people will go to a gym.

But what are the main motivators that people head to a fitness facility? Quite often, it is the aluminium-backed piece of glass in your bathroom after the holiday season that is the spur. For others, it can be a less-than-healthy conversation about some results from a doctor’s office.

As fitness facilities around the world open their doors to new members (and some existing members who give it their annual college effort), it is helpful to know what the motivation is for their clients to come through their doors on a consistent basis.

So what are those prime movers? According to, there are 7 main reasons that drive people to get into fitness facilities.

1. Improve Health

The benefits of exercise are well documented, improved health being the first of them so it comes as no surprise that this tops the list.

2. Lose weight

There is an adage floating around that states “you can’t be too rich or too thin.” This speaks to the New Year’s Resolutionists and how the season of excess leads to a few unwanted inches.

3. Look better

There is a bit of a narcissist in all of us. If most people were to brutally honest, they would put this at the top of the list. This is more or less an extension of improved health. One of the natural extensions of getting healthier is looking better.

4. Feel better

Whether or not those polled appreciate it, feeling better will come from improving their health. It is not just a function of feeling better, but rather all of the trappings that come with it.

muscular man in silhouette  5. Get/Stay in shape

“Round is a shape,” as a friend (who doesn’t belong to a gym) once said. And to be fair, it was the shape he was happy with. This can be a bit of a nebulous answer as it means different things to different people, but the general principle is to improve overall body structure for the better. It’s more or less a catchall for the previous 4 responses.

6. Tone up

If there is ever a “base” for tone, then this is what some people want to dial up. Ostensibly, it is to get stronger, build muscle, and chisel away some of the extra fat.

7. Socialize

Working out solo can be a drag. As nice as home gyms are, without scenery or a fellow gym goer to chat to, it can all be a bit dull. It’s nice to spend time with those that have similar interests in and even to get a little chat going. It can also lead to a little healthy competition.

There really is no “worst reason” to join a gym—if your ultimate goal is to improve your health (as No. 1 states!). And a quick google search for “worst reasons to join a gym” will show you that. But if you are looking for 21 excuses not to join a gym, then has you covered (as well as squashing those reasons).

There may be a few reasons that you might not want to share in a public setting, but if it gets you out to get exercise, then that reason has done its job.

So who is exercising?

Graph of exercising statistics by age groupAccording to a Nielsen Survey, 78% of the world either exercises regularly or has expressed the desire to do so. And in that 78%, it’s the Millennials (18-34 year olds) that are more likely to opt for exercise, with 81% claiming that they exercise or would like to.

The Boomers (those between 50 and 71) as a group, are less likely to exercise with 61% saying that would like to while 22% have zero interest in hitting the gym at all.

This means that currently, the Millennials represent the segment of the market more likely to get into a gym. And one that can be, and is, marketed to aggressively.

The internet age has made millennials a savvy, more educated consumer. Membership price points (which, coincidentally, many point to as the reason for NOT joining a gym or letting their membership lapse) are competitive, meaning that it is the suite of offerings and how it tailors to the particular needs of a younger generation of exercisers that will play more of a factor in gym memberships. For newer consumers, it is less about who the facility is and more about what it offers.

Knowing this, it is important that a fitness facility adapt strategies that speak or cater to that segment of the market. Things like:

  • Updated, state of the art equipment;
  • internet-ready exercise machines,
  • areas to relax and plug in;
  • facilities that allow for constant data tracking;
  • a social congregation point (think a variety of fitness classes)

But, gym offerings have to be in  balance so as not to alienate the older group who don’t subscribe to the newer requirements of a generation that is connected to everything at all times.

Whatever the reason is that gets you to exercise, hold onto that reason and recite it numerous times so that you don’t lose focus or the desire to achieve those goals. Ultimately, you’ll be grateful that you had a reason in the first place.

2 Responses to Why Do People Join Gyms?

  1. Callie Marie March 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm #

    You made a good point about how having people to chat with is a good reason to go to a gym. I sometimes workout at home, but have yet to join a gym. I have to admit that it would be much nicer to work out with others rather than by myself. Seeing other people working hard would keep me motivated to do the same.

  2. Andrew Fox March 9, 2019 at 1:10 am #

    These Points are so true so why people join.I can say I have joined for all those points you have mentioned here.
    Many Thanks for this points to tell why everyone joins!!

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