Pilates: The nation’s fastest-growing activity

This spring, CNBC reported that Pilates is the nation’s fastest-growing activity, with 8.6 million participants, up more than 450% since 2000, based on the most recent report from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (Rovell 2010).

In reality, participation may have peaked mid-decade (American Sports Data Inc. reported 10.5 million participants in 2004), but clearly Pilates has staying power. The 2010 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends report found that Pilates continues to grow while several other mind-body formats are declining. The American College of Sports Medicine ranked Pilates in its top 10 trends for 2010, along with two close cousins, core training and functional fitness.

Experts believe Pilates is likely to become increasingly popular as a cross-training tool. We see more athletes, performers and weekend warriors looking for Pilates as a cross-training method to complement their other fitness activities. No one method ‘does it all.’ Pilates is a major piece of the fitness puzzle, but it’s not the whole puzzle.