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After completing this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Describe what is necessary to be a careful consumer of health and fitness products.

  • Discuss the various types of exercise equipment that may be used in a health and fitness program.

  • Explain how clothing should be selected for exercising in hot or cold environments.

  • Identify special considerations for selecting a health or fitness club.

  • Discuss what you should look for in health and fitness books and magazines.


  • Consumerism

Are You a Wise Consumer of Fitness Products?

To say that the emphasis on health and fitness in American society has increased significantly during the past decade is a gross understatement. The consumer of health and fitness products has become the target of an unprecedented media advertising blitz. The stereotypical image of the healthy and fit body appears in countless Web sites on the Internet, in the social media, in magazines at newsstands, on television, and in infomercials. Advertising includes everything from health foods and vitamins to exercise equipment, fitness centers, and weight-loss centers.

Further evidence of the magnitude of the interest in fitness and exercise is seen in the expenditures for sporting goods and exercise equipment, which have reached an all-time high. The sale of sporting goods has become a huge business. According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), consumer-reported sales of sporting goods apparel, equipment, and athletic footwear reached $59.2 billion in 2012. The athletic shoe business alone has become an $8 billion-a-year business. Sales figures show that close to $10 billion was spent on athletic clothing in 2012. Sales of all types of equipment related to exercise have skyrocketed to nearly $30 billion today as individuals seek the convenience of being able to work out at home. Stationary bicycles, rowing machines, treadmills, stair climbers, and weight systems are the most popular items. Sales of diet and exercise books continue to rise. Corporate fitness programs and commercial health clubs have attracted a record number of members. The list goes on and on. But with the expansion of the health and fitness industry, there is little doubt that a significant amount of misinformation is being disseminated in an effort to merchandise this lucrative industry.

Marketing and advertising experts are extremely sensitive to the vulnerability of American consumers when it comes to buying products that promise to make them look and feel better. How can the consumer separate fact from hype when considering advertisements for health and fitness products? It is essential for consumers to educate themselves by taking a critical look at a product or service to be purchased. For example, if you are going to buy a new automobile, perhaps you begin by looking at advertisements. You may wish to consult reliable Web sites like Edmunds or Kelly Blue Book to look at performance specifications, maintenance records, and ...

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