Sports club usage in Japan


Do you use a sports club or fitness club? graph of japanese statisticsI did get as far as going to look round a sports club once, but the staff were not very friendly at all and the price was a bit high, so I gave up. I should try again somewhere else… To see how the Japanese view this topic, DIMSDRIVE Research recently performed a survey into sports clubs.


Between the 20th and 28th of February 2008 6,016 members of the DIMSDRIVE monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 55.7% of the sample was female, 1.5% in their teens, 20.0% in their twenties, 34.5% in their thirties, 25.3% in theire forties, 17.5% in their fifties, and 1.2% aged sixty or older.

I have been just the once to a fitness club in Japan in a hotel we were staying in, as we had a package that included free use of the facilities. The walking machine was fun, and the instructor helped us out with stretching exercises and the like, but then he introduced me to the stair machine which completely killed me in under 10 seconds. After that it was off to the hot tub and swimming pool, which is much more my idea of exercise!

In Q4 there is one type of training mentioned, 加圧, kaatsu, which is quite the popular fad in Japan amongst people on television. Basically you constrict bloodflow to your arms or legs and do a normal workout, and scientific studies in Japan have shown that for certain conditions and certain people it is better than normal exercise. To me it looks pretty dangerous, quite frankly! There’s very little English language information on this, and the scientific papers I see are split between those seeing an effect and those not.

Research results

Q1: Do you use a sports club or fitness club? (Sample size=6,061)

Currently using8.2%
Used to use35.4%
Never used (to Q8)56.4%

For women, there was a definite slight upward trend for current users aged forty or older.

Q2: Which sports club or fitness club do/did you use? (Sample size=2,622)

 Current users
Previous users
Public sports club22.4%23.4%
Konami Sports (XAX)16.6%15.5%
Central Sports5.3%8.7%
Tokyu Sports Oasis3.6%1.6%
Sports Club NAS1.6%1.9%
Fitness Club Cospa1.4%0.5%
Gold’s Gym1.2%0.1%
Other sports club25.4%16.7%
Don’t know, can’t remember1.8%16.5%

Those who used to use a sports club next answered Q7, those currently using a sports club continued on.

Q3: About how often do you use that sports club or fitness club? (Sample size=495)

Almost every day6.7%
Three to six times a week19.8%
Once or twice a week45.4%
Twice or thrice a month20.2%
Once a month5.1%
Once every two or three months1.8%
Once every six months0.6%
Less than that0.0%
Don’t know0.0%

Q4: What do you often use, often do at that sports club or fitness club? (Sample size=495, multiple answer)

Gym, training machine65.1%
Running, walking machine45.7%
Hot tub, sauna36.4%
Dance, aerobics18.8%
Stretching, relaxation17.6%
Aquabics, water walking15.8%
Diet machines9.5%
Fighting-related (boxercise, etc)6.1%
Squash, tennis4.4%
Massage, esthetics4.0%
School, lessons3.4%
Kaatsu (pressure-added, occlusion) training3.0%
Cafe, restaurant3.0%
Buy goods at shop2.8%
Osteopath, other treatment1.0%
Nothing in particular0.2%

Training machines and running were almost 20 percentage points more popular with men, whereas dance and aerobics was amost thrice as popular with women, and yoga almost four times.

Q5: Why do you use that sports club or fitness club? (Sample size=495, multiple answer)

To overcome a lack of exercise75.4%
To maintain, recover health74,7%
To improve, maintain muscle strength62.8%
To cheer up, relieve stress45.3%
To diet, to fight metabolic syndrome41.6%
To shape my body37.2%
Because I cannot continue exercise on my own13.7%
Because they have specialised equipment7.5%
To socialise with workmates, friends6.5%
To get a training program that suits me5.9%
Because friends asked me4.6%
No particular reason0.6%

By sex, the most notable difference was that 36.5% of men, but 52.2% of women went to cheer up or relieve stress. Interestingly, body sculpting was 12 percentage points more popular with men.

Q6: Why did you choose that sports club or fitness club? (Sample size=495, multiple answer)

Easy to get to65.5%
Cheap joining, monthly fees35.4%
Clean, spacious facilities21.6%
Friends attend17.6%
Opening hours (open until late, etc)17.6%
Good atmosphere14.7%
Sufficient training machines12.5%
Good hot tub, sauna, etc11.5%
Good staff, instructors9.1%
Good lesson plab8.5%
Sufficient sports available7.1%
Good evaluation6.5%
Good programs, training menues6.3%
Corporate discounts, etc6.1%
Large, famous company4.6%
Can use other gyms in same chain2.8%
Good massage, esthetic facilities0.6%
Wide range of goods in shop0.4%
No particular reason2.0%

The above was the final question for current users of sports clubs.

Q7: Why did you stop using a sports club or fitness club? (Sample size=2,127, multiple answer)

Times didn’t suit, didn’t have time38.9%
Circumstances changed (moved house, had children, etc)26.2%
Got bored, got bothersome to go24.8%
Difficult to get to location18.3%
Couldn’t continue by myself18.1%
Didn’t keep paying fees15.1%
Wasn’t effective7.4%
Crowded, difficult to make reservations5.5%
Injured my body3.6%
Staff, instructor attitude was bad2.6%
Achieved my objectives2.1%
Poor, difficult lessons, training menus2.1%
Had problems with other people0.8%
No particular reason, can’t remember2.7%

Some of the other reasons were taking up tennis instead, too difficult to find parking, unhygenic facilities, noisy youths and I got a tattoo!

Q8: Might you want to use a sports club or fitness club in the future? (Sample size=5,521)

Want to use46.4%
Don’t want to use19.8%
Don’t know33.8%

By age, younger people were not surprisingly more keen to use these facilities, except for men in their twenties.

Those who had previously attended a sports club were nearly twice as keen and those with no experience to want to use one in the future.

Read more on: ,

Leave a Comment