With women making up a large percentage of fitness classes, gym memberships and more, it’s vital that we consider the trends and statistics of women as a fitness demographic. Our expert guide compiles the key women’s fitness statistics that could impact 2022 and beyond.
Related Reading: These Gym Statistics Might Shape the Industry in 2022
Women’s Fitness Participation Statistics
When it comes to fitness participation, there are many factors that impact the figures. First and foremost, you should know that women make up the majority of gym memberships. However, men are more likely to participate in fitness activities outside of a commercial gym setting.
This includes playing sports at the park with friends, doing outdoor workouts like boot camp classes, participating in obstacle courses or races, lifting weights around their home- not necessarily at a dedicated home gym but in their garage, basement, or living room.
Studies show us that 54% of gym memberships and 76% of group fitness class attendees in the UK are female. This research also reports that the most popular group fitness classes amongst women are Spinning, Aerobics, and Yoga.
The figures below – published in October 2020 by Sport England – show general fitness participation statistics for men and women in England. As we can see, inactivity is shown to be just slightly higher amongst women, with 26% (6m) of women inactive compared to 25% (5.5m) of men.
Girls Fitness Statistics
According to the Women in Sport and Youth Sport Trust’s Girls Active Survey, there are some worrying recent statistics and trends when it comes to girls in their teenage and preteen years. Unfortunately, these surveys showed a high amount of young teenage girls feeling unhappy with their bodies, amongst other things.
The study showed that in girls aged 12-14 years:
- Only 41% feel happy they are doing enough exercise
- 36% are unhappy with their body
- 42% avoid exercise when they have their period
- Only 42% say exercise is important to their lives
- 28% do no other exercise except PE at school
- Only 23% really enjoy PE
The study goes on to show that in girls aged 14-16 years:
- 35% don’t take part because they are not confident
- 34% don’t take part because they don’t like being watched
Though concerning statistics, it’s not all doom and gloom! With research now providing evidence of these issues – and movements such as Reframing Sport For Teenage Girls and other targeted campaigns pushing to bridge the ‘relevance gap’ in fitness and sports for teenage girls – we can hope to see these statistics improve throughout 2022 and beyond!
Mental Health in Women’s Fitness Statistics
This study published in 2019 found that 1 in 4 women avoid exercising at the gym due to a phenomenon dubbed Gymtimidation. This number was higher in 18-24-year-olds, with a huge 70% of this age group reporting feeling Gymtimidation at some point.
Further to this, another report shows that some women feel certain areas of the gym can be male-dominated, creating another obstacle for women to feel comfortable entering a gym. These statistics show that mental health is still a huge barrier for women to overcome in order to get active and engage with fitness-related activities.
However, with mental health campaigns now reaching wider than ever, and creative new additions to the gym market now including various Women’s-Only Weight Training Classes that create a safe space for women to work on their fitness, we can at least hope for these figures to improve throughout 2022.
Menopause Fitness Statistics
One of the common barriers to women’s fitness is the onset of menopause – when the body stops producing estrogen and progesterone. Since these hormones are in charge of regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle, once they stop being produced, symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may occur. This survey of 427 women shows:
- 84% of women who don’t meet physical activity guidelines would like to be more active
- 82% experienced menopausal symptoms
- 70% felt their symptoms had a moderate-to-severe impact on their quality of life
- 55% had symptoms for 2 years or more (27% for 5+ years)
- 30% of women were less active since menopause
- 90% would consider physical activity if it was recommended by a GP or health professional
Covid-19 Women’s Fitness Statistics
Naturally, with lockdown, physical activity levels were reduced. This decrease in physical activity during lockdown was driven by numerous factors, including:
- Range of activities on offer
- Access to facilities
- The anxiety of catching or spreading COVID-19
The closure of leisure and fitness facilities across the UK had a disproportionate impact on women’s reduction in activity – further increasing the gender gap, with women making up 53% of all swimming visits and 76% of fitness classes, according to this COVID-19 Impact Report. According to another study:
- 39% of women said that losing their fitness would have a long-term impact
- 32% of women couldn’t prioritise doing exercise during lockdown as they had too much to do for others
- 25% of women were worried that getting back into the habit of exercise post lockdown would be hard
Working in Fitness Statistics
When it comes to women in leadership roles in the fitness industry, there has long been a gender gap. According to Statistica in 2019, out of the 184 thousand people working in the fitness industry, male employees occupied 53 percent of these positions. However, the majority of these male-held occupations were classified as full-time, whereas 64 percent of the female-held occupations were classified as part-time employment.
Recent statistics have confirmed that attitudes towards women in fitness vary, showing that:
- 40% or 4 in 10 of the women working in sport feel they are valued less than men in the workplace because of their gender
- 40% of men and 61% of women believe women face more challenges to become senior leaders
- 34% of women have seen their professional performance judged by their sporting ability
- Only 3% of women and 9% of men believe it’s easier for women to progress
- 53% of women and 23% of men believe it’s easier for men to progress
Related Reading: Ladies Who Lift Myths Debunked: Our Survey Results
Looking For Women’s-Only Strength Training Classes in London?
At Strength Ambassadors, we provide women-only strength training classes in our London gym. We believe that women’s-only classes provide a fantastic way for women to get active, train hard and help them build muscle whilst also providing other benefits like stress relief, mental health improvement and a judgment-free zone to come and just enjoy their workout.