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Fitness and Sport for Expats in the United States Of America

Submitted: August 2013

The fitness industry in the USA has been rapidly expanding, with fitness and weight lost experiencing increasing popularity over the last couple of decades. As you would probably expect for a country of the size of the USA, there are numerous options making up the fitness sector and a vast number of sporting activities available for both spectatorship and participation at various levels. You are almost guaranteed to find a fitness or sporting activity which will be pleasing to you.

Many people in the USA are interested in sports; as such almost all sports are played domestically. Team sports such as baseball, basketball, football (American), soccer, and ice hockey are immensely popular with major sporting leagues, namely, the Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball League (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) which attract teams from all over the country. At the participatory level these sports are equally popular, with opportunities available in all communities at various skill levels, in addition to community college and professional city teams.

For an overview of other popular sporting events in the USA, please click here.

Individual sporting disciplines which are widely popular include horse racing – there are over 500 race tracks in the USA, golf, tennis, yachting, and auto sport. The latter features many variations of drag racing, biking, stock car derbies and cross-country “jeep-ins”. These activities have high appeal partly due to the availability of many comprehensive national and state parks which provide an extensive range of facilities such as tennis and golf courts at a nominal fee. Additionally, many sporting equipment can be rented in most cities. If you are interested in hiking, skiing, fishing, among other outdoor activities, national and state parks also offers you great opportunities to explore these interests.

National parks are protected by the federal government and are open to the public. For information on national parks which are available in the USA, including activities which are available in each, fees and finding one near to you, please click here.

State parks are operated separately from national parks by individual states. These sometimes require an entrance fee and/or reservation, although this varies by state. For a guide to state parks located near to you, please click here.

Fitness in America is promoted through various means and industries other than sports. These include pilates and yoga studios, personal trainers, fitness DVD productions to name a few. Fitness centres (or gyms) and weigh loss solutions such as clinics are highly popular.

If you are considering enrolment at a fitness centre in the United States, selecting the one most suitable to you may not be an easy task as there are numerous options and opinions of gyms are divergent.  Of the many gyms, 24 Hour Fitness is one which is highly regarded as it is the world’s largest operated fitness centre chain in the USA with over 400 locations. Other well-known chains include Equinox, LA Fitness and Crunch. Each of these gyms has their specific fee structure, with membership fees vary depending on several factors. Some gyms may offer you a free-trial before you actually register as a member. You should expect to pay approximately US $55 monthly for membership but, as stated above, this could vary greatly depending on the services you request. For help selecting a gym near you, please click here.

There are various types of weight-loss programs available in the USA, with diet exercises, counselling, surgery and drugs being some of the methods used, though they are often combined. If you are considering this option, it would be wise to contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as many products in this field have been discovered to be misleading through making false and unsustainable claims about weight-loss effects.



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