Despite lackluster economic conditions, the fitness industry continues to see a healthy growth in revenues. Revenues from 2010 increased by 5% and the number of health club memberships has grown an average of 2.5% over the last few years. Approximately 41 million Americans are members of health clubs and the industry generates just under $10 BILLION annually. How do they continue to encourage people to join their centers and renew their memberships even during economic hardship?
Like any other industry, they must be aware of social trends and respond to their consumers needs. Over most recent years, they have been responding to the obesity epidemic by making their facilities less intimidating for those looking to get back into shape. You may have noticed a few of these subtle changes at your gym- an increased number of personal trainers, more group exercises classes, bootcamp style sessions and nutritionists on staff. With approximately one-third of our nation classified as clinically obese, fitness centers have begun to spend their resources developing programs centered around fun, positive and supportive programs to help individuals ease back into shape. Popular programs such as Zumba®, a Latin based dance cardio class, report a weekly participation of over 14 million people in 150 countries.
Fitness centers have taken note on how popular, and financially successful, group ex classes have been and are continually searching for more innovative programs to offer to their participants. One of these programs are "Mommy and Me" classes.
While reports vary greatly, it appears that more and more moms are opting to stay at home and start small home businesses to help supplement the household income. Moms with availability during the work day coupled with the desire to lose that baby weight, are the perfect target group for fitness centers.
And centers are catching on. Offering yoga, dance and other fitness classes for mama and baby. Stroller Strides®, founded by mompreneur Lisa Druxman in 2001, is a fitness class that is centered around the use of a stroller for cardio and toning exercises. In just over a decade, the franchise has grown to over 1300 locations.
licia Langlais-Himelstein came up with the idea of Sling Babes® about a year after she had her first child. Sling Babes® is dance fitness for mommies by mommies, incorporating 15 minutes of core focused floor work with 30 minutes of cardio dance to help postpartum moms dance their way back into shape... all with their baby by their side. Alicia said she the epiphany to start this program "while taking a Haitian dance class while carrying my son throughout the class. I felt comfortable doing this because carrying babies in folkloric dance classes is common place. I found myself wishing I could bring him with me to dance fitness classes and BING, the bulb went off!!!"
"Mommy and me" classes allow the bonding between child and mother to continue and it also gives moms the opportunity to connect with other women within their community. nd with the increasing rate of childhood obesity, its a great way to expose children to the beauty of fitness at a very early age. As fitness centers continue to look for ways to serve the needs of their consumers and the increasing success of programs like Sling Babes® and Stroller Strides® be on the lookout for the spread of "Mommy and Me" offerings throughout the nation.
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