Why Millennials are Fitness Fanatics: The Social Nature

BrightMark Consulting
3 min readJun 16, 2015


Across America, it seems as if Millennials are exercising more than any generation has in the past. Gyms and fitness clubs are packed, endurance races like the Tough Mudder are rapidly growing in popularity, and there are even TV shows, like American Ninja Warrior, where young athletes put their skills to the test on a variety of challenging obstacles.

Furthermore, the statistics suggest they may be America’s healthiest generation yet:

They exercise more. 81% of Millennials say that they exercise regularly, compared to only 61% of Boomers.

They like going to the gym. 36% of Millennials who exercise regularly would consider joining a gym, compared to only 20% of all regular exercisers.

They take more classes offered by gyms and health clubs. 45% of Millennials who exercise do so in a fitness class (such as yoga, Pilates, or dance), compared to 27% of people aged 55 or older.

Millennials are more goal-oriented with their fitness. They work out to achieve a specific goals while the general population does so because they know that it is good for them. 31% of Millennials work out to achieve their fitness goals, compared to only 26% of the general population.

These statistics provide several important insights:

1.Millennials are more conscious about health and fitness than other generations. The vast majority of Millennials view exercising as a positive thing and want to participate in fitness-related activities.

2.They like to exercise in a group dynamic. Millennials are a product of the age of social media, and they have managed to turn exercising into a social event, which explains their prominence in fitness classes and health clubs, where they can work out together. While older generations were content to exercise alone, and viewed it as a chore, Millennials have not only embraced exercise, but turned it into a type of social gathering.

3.Millennials exercise with a purpose. The most popular reason for young adults to exercise is to achieve their own personal goals. These goals manifest themselves in a myriad of ways: for some, it means carving the beach body that they have always wanted, and for others it means completing a race or challenge. This explains the rising popularity of endurance-obstacle races like the Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, to name a few. Millennials jump at the chance to push their bodies to the limit, and these races give them a goal to work towards.

4.They want to keep up with trends in exercise. If all of your friends are running a race, or taking a yoga class, it is likely that you will participate as well. If a business wants to capitalize on the popularity of fitness among young adults, it is crucial that they keep up with the times. Cross Fit is a perfect example of this. Started in 2000, it has grown to over 7000 gyms in fifteen years, primarily by capitalizing on the health trend among Millennials. (http://www.channelsignal.com/fresh-signals/by-the-numbers-the-growth-of-crossfit)

Millennials are more enthusiastic about exercise because they enjoy it more. To them, exercise isn’t just about health — it’s about socializing, accomplishing your goals, staying trendy, and having fun.

Statistics were taken from the Nielsen Consumer Exercise Trends Survey 2014. [http://www.slideshare.net/Bryankorourke/nielsen-global-consumer-exercise-trends-survey-2014]

image courtesy of the-m-age