The Fittest Cities in Germany
edelhelfer/fitogram report as of 25. March 2015
Osnabrück is the fittest city in Germany. Most fitness-objectors live in the Ruhr area and in the newly-formed German states. Locally active chain providers have a positive influence on the fitness level in many cities. In their report "The Fittest Cities in Germany", fitogram and edelhelfer investigate the fitness level of the 50 largest German cities for the first time.
The employers' association for the German fitness industry DSSV regularly estimates the total number of members of fitness providers in Germany. Currently, approximately 11.2 percent of all Germans exercise in a gym. The advisory company edelhelfer and the fitness search engine fitogram have examined the market in more detail for the first time and calculated the proportion of fitness club members in the 50 largest cities in Germany.
The fittest city is Osnabrück, where nearly one-fifth of the population are members of a fitness club. Amongst other reasons, the relatively high proportion of commuters has probably contributed to this good performance. Freiburg was ranked second. Its fitness landscape is especially influenced by chain provider which are particularly active on a regional level. The Van der Vliet & Kunz group, with its brands Sportpark and Sportprinz, operates six facilities in the city; Rückgrat is present in Freiburg with four clubs. The financial hub Frankfurt (Main) comes in third and provides a broad range of high-priced offerings from the premium segment. The major German cities of Hamburg (22), Munich (27) and Berlin (30) are positioned in the middle of the ranking.
Alongside Duisburg (50), also Gelsenkirchen (49), Hagen (45), Oberhausen (43), Mülheim (42), Dortmund (41) and Hamm (39) can be found at the bottom of this ranking. "The overall poor performance of the Ruhr area is striking. Compared to Duisburg, the share of people with a gym membership is more than twice as high in Osnabrück", says Jonas Villwock from fitogram. However, that does not mean that all of North Rhine-Westphalia is lazy regarding physical activity: Bochum reached at least 29th place and is thus the fittest city in the Ruhr region. Dusseldorf (11) and Cologne (15) as the largest cities in the state are even part of the upper third of the ranking.
Amongst other factors, the presence of chain operators contributes to the number of sportsmen in a city. "Especially regional operators usually know the environment of their local market very well. Furthermore, a well-known brand with a high visibility can reach many people and motivate them to become physically active. In addition, chain operators often approach the recruitment of new customers in a more systematic way than many competitors with just one club", comments fitness market expert Gregor Titze from edelhelfer. Outstanding examples are, in addition to Freiburg, also Bonn with Donna’s Frauenfitness and Mannheim with the Pfitzenmeier group. The strong presence of Fitness First in Frankfurt, especially with fitness clubs of its high-priced formats Platinum and Black Label, is another example.
The newly-formed eastern German states still need to catch up in terms of fitness: None of the towns made it to the first third. Rostock (47) and Erfurt (46) are among the last ten cities of the ranking. In both cities, chain providers play no particular role. Dresden (19) reaches at least the upper middle of the ranking: In the city, Thomas Sport Center operates five plants and further chain providers – for example INJOY (three clubs) – are active with more than on facility. Magdeburg (23) is also part of top half as the local operator Fitness Class and the European market leader McFIT are present with two facilities each.
For the joint research project of edelhelfer and fitogram, the information of about 4,000 fitness providers was evaluated. Besides traditional fitness offerings (chain and single operators), also micro club concepts (e.g. EMS, Vibration, Vacuum) as well as Crossfit, Yoga/Pilates and martial arts clubs were included in the analysis. In future, the fitness ranking "The Fittest Cities in Germany" shall be updated regularly. It shall be also extended to include sports clubs and recreational athletes such as runners.