The Transformation From Fitness To Wellness

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The transformation of the fitness industry into the wellness industry offers new business opportunities. Understanding this shift will help your business capitalize on this transformation.

In the past, the fitness industry focused on super-fit men and women primarily interested in appearance. This enabled traditional fitness businesses to win 10 million members since the fitness surge of the 1980s. This trend is now changing from fitness to wellness.

Baby Boomer Lifestyles

Sociologists have thoroughly studied the increased lifestyle expectations of the 75 million baby-boomers born following World War II. Baby-boomers have enjoyed more active lives than their parents. They often travel extensively and plan to maintain these lifestyles as they age. Many plan to work beyond age 65. This gives them a strong interest in sustaining their energy, mental sharpness, strength, activity levels, and social interests.

Understanding of Aging

The global scientific and medical community is developing a much deeper understanding of the aging process and how to alter, avoid, or slow its effects. Daily headlines emphasize physical activity and nutrition to minimize the effects of aging.

Studies of activities as diverse as pet ownership and church involvement emphasize the importance of emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual factors in preventing stress-related medical conditions and maintaining a healthy, productive, and fulfilling lifestyle as we age.

This broader understanding of wellness goes beyond the traditional view primarily focused on physical fitness and appearance. Since over 10% of adult Americans are 65 or older, this perspective has a large and interested audience.

Increasing Healthcare Costs

Rising healthcare costs and the difficulty for many consumers of obtaining affordable health insurance makes preventing health-related problems an urgent priority for both individuals and policymakers.

Multiple Dimensions of Wellness

The scientific community’s emphasis on multiple dimensions of wellness— physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual—is shaping how adult Americans think about health and fitness.

The super-fit club members of the ’80s and ’90s are now juggling family, work and community responsibilities. They also have more information about how to maintain good health. As a result, they find a balanced view of wellness appealing. Wellness-oriented businesses offering more than traditional fitness programming can build on this interest.

Rapid Spread of Information

More and more adults are aware of the latest scientific thinking on wellness and aging. Many believe that avoidance of undesirable aging effects is entirely possible and realistic. As this information spreads widely and quickly, thanks to the internet, the desire to take action also increases.

Looking Ahead

In recent years the wellness industry has grown by 8-10% annually. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future, driven primarily by groups overlooked by traditional fitness businesses.