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Yoga Participation Grows While Pilates Numbers Decline

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Yoga and yoga-related activities continue to increase in popularity, although the growth rate has slowed somewhat, according to the 2011 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. In 2010, approximately 21.9 million people participated in yoga and yoga-related activities compared with about 20.1 million in 2009, representing an 8.8% growth.

Suggested reasons for growth include an increase in the number of yoga studios; new programming for specific groups, such as older adults, kids and runners; and publication of research on the many health benefits derived from practicing yoga.

Pilates Numbers Continue to Drop. The 2011 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report noted that Pilates participation declined for the third year in a row in 2010. Last year, 8.1 million people practiced Pilates compared with 8.7 million in 2009. In contrast to yoga, traditional Pilates programming can require large, expensive equipment. Study authors believed that interest in Pilates mat classes is holding steady and that the decline is in fee-for-participation classes that require machines. Since consumer spending has been down and disposable income has shrunk, people may be limiting spending on this type of fee-based training.


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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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