Survey of What Is On The Horizon for Special Populations in Fitness

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  • Survey of What Is On The Horizon for Special Populations in Fitness

Survey of What Is On The Horizon for Special Populations in Fitness

Specialty Fitness Fills Niches and Gyms

Humans come in a delightful diversity of shapes, sizes, and physical needs. I think it is super-rewarding to see people achieve spectacular levels of fitness achievement. It is even more rewarding when you can help special populations take small steps to better health and enhanced mobility.

Special Population Niche Opportunities

The fitness profession offers opportunities to assist people at all stages of their fitness journeys, as well as their extended sojourns through life. Special populations present you with many unique niche opportunities to help the people who often need it the most.

I have written previously about the different special populations for fitness. The eleven specific groups cluster around medical conditions or the stages of life. Refining your strategy to focus on one of these reveals several potential benefits:

  • Find and serve an underserved market segment
  • Reduce the direct competition you face
  • Provide opportunities to increase the value you add
  • Establish a high-revenue niche

Start by considering your personal and in-house expertise and certifications. These intellectual assets are the foundations for success. Research your local competition and demographics. You have probably done this already as part of your business plan.

However, if you are looking for a new market segment, an analysis of intended the new market may be in order. If it’s a significant pivot to serve this population, the more preparation you put into planning the launch, the higher your chances of success.

America Is Changing as Populations Age

One trend that is changing in the background is the type of properties that landlords are willing to offer to gym owners. New choices in shopping centers are a boon to the fitness industry. The face of retail has changed as shoppers lose interest in Main Street and shopping malls to online competition.

More options for gym locations means changes in the people to whom you market your memberships. Traditional shopping options have always been in the best spots for people-businesses. It stands to reason that special populations such as seniors are the future of fitness in the shopping mall.

Fitness for Children

The next few years will see more fitness clubs that cater to special populations. One of the latest trends is fitness for kids. Children are a special population that the fitness industry is chasing now. This has been building for a while, but I recently saw a gym for kids in a Main Street location.

Children who get into the fitness habit now are much more likely to stay fit for life. Of course, that actually means marketing to parents, but it promotes positive associations to health that could last their whole lives. It changes the characteristics of the population at large.

They will be healthier and happier. If enough families get involved, it will grow the industry and reduce the health care costs of the nation in the long term. So, that is an exciting possibility if you love fitness and kids, start a health club for little ones, like the Little Gym or Gymminy Kids.

The Other End of The Spectrum

Senior fitness is moving in two directions at one time. Fitness programming can both extend and prevent deterioration of physical mobility for seniors. Gentle exercise, led by certified trainers, is a great way to maintain health for longer.

For seniors who have mastered the basics and have the energy to go further, there are adaptations of current systems like CrossFit. When you think about it, fitness clubs are great for seniors because they offer social connection and mental stimulation.

Physically, when you’re active, you’re at least a little agile and more clear-thinking, you are less likely to suffer falls and other causes of injuries. If you do fall when you are alone, you are much more likely to recover unaided. There are only good things that come from serving special populations.


You are likely to find both young and old special populations on Main Street and in shopping malls. Retail real estate locations that struggle to find tenants these days were once the places that people would go to do things. If you help landlords fill empty storefronts with activities that are in demand, it helps them bring back foot traffic, to the benefit of everyone.

Regardless of the niche you choose and the size of your fitness club business, Gym Insight is gym management software that helps you deliver results for your membership. It gives you tools to manage members and staff, payments, and operations.

When you choose a special population niche, we are here to help you deliver the experience and successes in health to nurture and delight your membership.


Fagan, Lawrence. "11 Special Populations That Could Change Your Club." Gym Insight Blog, March 1, 2018.

—. "Why It’s Important for Fitness Centers to Hire Trainers with ‘Special Populations Certification.’" Gym Insight Blog, April 23, 2013.

Goldman, Stuart. "Health Clubs for Children Are a Growing Trend." Club Industry, March 1, 2010.

Mallia, Sharon. "Physiotherapist Sharon Mallia Reports on the Success of CrossFit-Based Training with 20 Seniors Aged 75-91.," September 23, 2019, 5.

Parrish, Torrey. "Fitness Boom: New Gyms Filling Vacant Retail Space." Newsday, May 31, 2019.

Sipe, Cody. "Assessing Functional Fitness in Mature Adults." Fitness. American Council of Excercise, September 5, 2017.

—. "Integrating Cognitive Training into Exercise Programs for Older Adults.", March 5, 2019.

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