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SGMA Says "Boomers Are Embracing Fitness”

Date: 5/18/09

JUPITER, FLORIDA – May 18, 2009 – According to the latest edition of SGMA’s Sports & Fitness Participation Report (2009 edition), America’s Baby Boomers are embracing exercise and related activities in greater numbers than their younger Gen-X counterparts. Baby Boomers are defined as people born between 1946 and 1962. So, today’s Boomers are between 47 and 63 years of age. The Gen-X generation is defined as adults born between 1963 and 1972. 

Boomers make up the single largest demographic group in the U.S. – more than 75 million people. When it comes to sports and fitness participation, they like activities which are more controlled than aggressive. Boomers also enjoy their sports and athletic activities on their own time frame plus they enjoy getting together with friends. Led by a double-digit increase in slow-pitch softball, participation in team or group inspired activities is up in the low double digits, while activities like strength training, walking on the treadmill, and the elliptical motion trainer are up a mere 3.3%.

Gen-Xers, with their increased time pressures, are showing decreasing levels of participation across a wide variety of activities. Like their Boomer counterparts, activities that can be done at your convenience, like running, remain strong with Gen-Xers. Also, while some specific team sports like softball and flag/touch football remain strong in terms of overall participation, interest in team sports by the Gen-Xers is down in the high single digits.  Individual sports and fitness activities are down slightly with Gen-Xers. 

“Baby Boomers are watching their children graduate from college and start families of their own while the Gen-Xers are driving their children to soccer and baseball practice,” said Brandon Mason, research analyst for SGMA Research. “It is just a matter of where you are in the various stages of your life. The Boomers have a little bit more time on their hands. The Gen-X generation is busy with career and family and that takes up most of their time.  Something has to suffer.”
Core Participation Boomers


Team Sports +15%


Individual/Fitness Sports +3.3%



The annual SGMA Sports & Fitness Participation Study is conducted using a sample of 40,000+ Americans. The study collects detailed demographic and lifestyle data on participants in 114 sports and related activities. If you would like to see a more detailed report on Baby Boomer and/or Gen-X sports and activity participation, call Neil Schwartz at SGMA Research 561-427-0647 or via email at sgmaresearch@sgma.com

SGMA Research is the exclusive provider research and analysis for SGMA. Current studies include:
  • Annual Sports Participation Study
  • Individual Sport Reports
  • State of the Industry Report
  • Industry Shipments Report
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA Research, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.sgma.com.


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