CHILDREN'S gym memberships across the UK have rocketed over the last few years - but independent gyms could be missing out on their share.
Some of the biggest fitness chains are reporting membership growths of over 60 per cent but some industry experts fear the independents could have so far missed out on the chance to cash in on the trend.
Andree Deane, of the Fitness Industry Association, said: "Many private chains have been quick to recognise the potential of offering children and family memberships but for many independent operators it can be a real challenge.
"Limited floor space and resources often makes it impossible to invite large groups of children into a club."
Virgin Active has reported a jump of 62 per cent of junior sign ups in the last four years (from 12,000 to 20,000) - it is now developing successful adult classes, like Bosu, V Core and Hulaerobics, to suit children.
Spokesman Peter Brennan said: "This dramatic growth, we believe, has come from parents finally waking up to the global obesity epidemic and a lot of this awareness has come through the media.
"It appears that in today's society, people aren't just thinking about making a change, theyíre actually making it and we think that is a really positive step.
"Parents are definitely more aware of the benefits of physical activity."
David Lloyd now has more than 40,000 members under 17, up from 36,904, while child membership at Esporta almost doubled in three years. At Next Generation, they are up by a third.
Andree Deane added: "Independent gyms can still engage children and encourage family participation by sending one of your instructors to visit your local school. Offering to help teachers to achieve their physical activity targets and opening children's eyes to a variety of new activities is a fantastic way to engage the next generation of potential members and raise the club's profile."
Go backPosted on 26th April 2007