The Physical Activity Council has released their 2015 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report. The Physical Activity Council is a partnership of seven of the major governing bodies and trade associations in the U.S. sports industry. These seven are the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, Outdoor Industry Association, US Tennis Association (USTA), International health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, Tennis Industry Association, Snowsports Industries America, and National Gold Foundation. According to PhysicalActivityCouncil.com, these seven organizations "join forces and combine resources to conduct the single largest study detailing the Sports, Fitness and Recreational Habits of all Americans." The study includes over 100 sports and recreational activities.
The study found that adventure racing, triathlons, MMA, lacrosse and rugby are some of the fastest growing sports for 2012 – 2014. Growth is based on committed participants. Adventure racing saw a 20.3% increase in the past two years with 1,365,000 active participants. Out of that total number, 420,000 were new participants. Traditional triathlons saw a 12.2% increase with 1,439,000 participants; 266,000 were new.
Sadly, only 28 of the 104 sports included saw growth from 2012 to 2014. In fact, the study found that the U.S. is experiencing an "inactivity pandemic." In 2014, 2.5 million more Americans became totally sedentary.
Why are some activities enjoying such growth while others languish? PHIT America believes that it's about the experience, that people are looking for nonconventional ways to get in shape. They also believe that the exercise people do is different from the ones they watch on TV or enjoy as spectators. According to PHIT America," The ‘celebrity or visibility factor’ that many think drives participation is more fiction than fact."
Another interesting trend is that traditional sports (team and individual) are missing from the lists of sports experiencing growth. Finally, PHIT found that many people who are physically active today are not interested in scores or in activities that track winners or losers. As they point out, "For many people, just being involved in an activity makes them feel like a winner."