part of

Australian Fitness Trends & AUSactive’s Preventive Health Role


Australian fitness trends and data shows the Australian fitness industry is booming. Australia’s fitness industry ranks among the top ten largest fitness industries worldwide.

Research by the Australian government and a global Deloitte Report, commissioned by The Global Health & Fitness Alliance, in collaboration with AUSactive, shows the remarkable achievements in Australia’s fitness sector. Australia’s fitness industry plays a pivotal role in bolstering the nation’s economy. 

We recently interviewed Barrie Elvish, AUSactive CEO, to discuss the fitness industry trends and how AUSactive is revolutionizing the fitness, health, and wellness environment in Australia. AUSactive’s role is to promote health and wellness through active lifestyles. The fitness industry association is the largest in Australia and recognized by the government.

COVID was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate to the sector the need for a strong voice and message. AUSactive’s membership grew by 15% each year during COVID. 

“Going to the gym is the second most popular physical activity in Australia after walking. It surprised many people just how much Australians are using health and fitness centers such as gyms, cycle, yoga and pilates studios, dance, group classes and many others to get active.”

~ Barrie Elvish, AUSactive CEO ~

Research by the Australian government and a global Deloitte Report, commissioned by The Global Health & Fitness Alliance, in collaboration with AUSactive, shows the remarkable achievements in Australia’s fitness sector. Australia’s fitness industry plays a pivotal role in bolstering the nation’s economy. 

Australia’s Booming Fitness Industry

  • Health and fitness sector contributes over $4 billion to Australian GDP
  • While inactivity costs the healthcare system $2 billion per year
  • Fitness participation in fitness, sports or gym activities doubled in the last 5 years, with over 40% of Australian participation over the age of 15 currently, up from 20% participation 5 years ago. 
  • Over 8 million people over the age of 15 go to a gym at least once a year
  • 3.7% Expected Annual Growth For Fitness Industry (2019 – 2024)
  • 24-hour gyms in Australia have doubled since 2014 
  • 12% of Australians use a fitness app to monitor their physical activities.
  • 1.2 million people with a disability attend gyms
  • 1 million non English-speaking people attend gyms 
  • 150,000 indigenous people attend gyms
  • Major growth was outside traditional commercial gyms

Tapping into the Australian Fitness Market Opportunities in 2024

As we explore the dynamic landscape of Australian fitness, there are numerous opportunities for fitness businesses to thrive. 

1. Mental Health Focus

The #1 reason people attend a gym is to improve mental well-being now. 

While some believe people start exercising because they want to look good and feel good, actual data shows that more people are going to the gym for their mental well-being. Before COVID, 19% were going to the gym for their mental well-being, but now it has risen to 29%. 

A recent meta-analysis from the University of Adelaide with over 100 credible research programs and over 100,000 participants concludes that exercise is one and a half times more effective in managing/mitigating anxiety and depression than medications or counselling.

Recommendation: Make sure you promote mental well-being with in-facility and virtual programs like yoga and meditation.

2. Offer Hybrid Models, AI, And Technology Integration


Australian fitness trends show hybrid fitness models are an important future fitness trend. By balancing in-person and out-of-facility content equally, you can offer every single customer to consume your product in the club, at home, or outside your facility, in the way that best suits them any time and anywhere. After COVID, your fitness members expect the in-club and out-of the club offering with a combination of live and on-demand fitness experiences.

AI And Technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used in many ways by organizations to innovate, improve, and scale up. AI is making a positive impact on fitness member-based businesses by helping them accelerate their digital transformation. AI constantly learns from the data it analyses, anticipating customer behavior from it. By doing so, fitness brands can create valuable content, boost revenue, and enhance customer experiences. Optimize your digital transformation by leveraging AI and technology.

Hybrid Opportunities For Workforce Education and Utilization

AUSactive recently had a Senior Management Summit to address how to take advantage of future opportunities to succeed in the fitness industry. They addressed how to take advantage of data, technology, and AI to make better decisions and create better fitness opportunities. 

One thing they addressed was the fitness workforce and how technology and AI will make a positive difference for the fitness industry, but we have not educated the workforce effectively on how to use these tools for their benefit.

Group exercise instructors, personal trainers and gym managers are leaving the industry. With COVID, many left to do their own thing or open their own clubs, and a lot of them haven’t come back. A lot of them haven’t come back because they saw the hybrid experience as a threat instead of taking advantage of the tools and use AI and technology to build their engagement. 

In addition, the average age of those who’ve stayed is actually increasing. If the industry doesn’t address this now, there is going to be a void in about 5 to 10 years if they’re not replaced when they retire.

So now is the time to train your workforce in how to use technology and invest in technology like user-friendly fitness apps, on demand digital technology, and live virtual classes. Your group exercise instructors and personal trainers should be part of the virtual and on-demand content you create to increase their engagement, improve member participation, and ultimately create better outcomes for members. 

Recommendation: Utilize technology and offer in-gym, virtual, and on-demand fitness content for broad appeal for members and fitness professionals.

3. Workout Convenience and Adaptability 

Fitness participants now expect 24/7 convenience. They want access to fitness and wellness anywhere and anytime. 24-hour gyms in Australia have doubled since 2014. Also, ensure you review your data, stay updated with industry trends, and adapt your fitness and wellness offerings. AI and technology are providing new opportunities constantly. 

Recommendation: Consider 24/7 gym access and provide hybrid content in-club and virtually through live and on-demand fitness content for greater convenience and availability.

AUSactive Role In Preventive Health

AUS active recently had a very successful “Fit For Office” Campaign highlighting the need to invest in preventive health strategies. The government data doesn’t lie. It shows the Australian health and fitness sector contributes over $4 billion to Australian GDP, while inactivity costs the healthcare system $2 billion per year. 

Barrie share, “The move to a preventive healthcare system is necessary.The current system is unsustainable and the sooner they acknowledge and address this the better off both our health and economy will be” He continued, “With a return on investment of a reported sixfold and a health system – that includes hospitals, the NDIS, aged care and increasing demands for mental welfare services – collapsing under the strain, surely a government talking of well-being budgets and the need to increase national productivity would seriously consider investing more in preventive health? The savings are significant, ongoing and exponential.”

AUSactive is working on a rigorous accreditation system to build a government regulatory framework that will be an opt-in program with financial incentives. 

The discussions continue about how to get members access to the NDIS, more private health insurance benefits, and ultimately Medicare funded preventative health programs. 

The insurers are telling us that if we can get something that has credibility and rigor behind it, it will drop premiums for public liability insurance and open up doors for AUSactive members to 

achieve better commercial income, better employment opportunities, and greater security.

A Win-Win For Fitness And The Australian Economy

As we review this comprehensive insight into the challenges, opportunities, and future trends in the Australian fitness industry. Position your Australian fitness business for the future by taking advantage of preventative health initiatives, government collaboration, mental well-being focus, convenience, and the potential impact of AI and technology as the industry is on the brink of transformative change. The prospect of a healthier and more sustainable future for Australia looms on the horizon.

Ready to learn how to take advanatage of future Australian fitness trends? Let us help you utilize your data, virtual technology, and AI to develop your fitness content strategy and best utilize your fitness professionals. Email usINFO@WEXER.COM

More Information:

Podcast Episode 28 – AUSactive and Barrie Elvish

AUSactive – https://ausactive.org.au/

Email – Barrie.Elvish@ausactive.org.au

Barrie Elvish LinkedIn Profile



Get updates, insights and the latest digital fitness news!