The Korea Herald


No. of fitness centers soar in 10 years: data

By Choi Jae-hee

Published : Oct. 11, 2020 - 15:08

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The number of fitness centers in South Korea has soared in recent years, reflecting the rising demand for fitness and leisure activities in the midst of the work-life balance culture triggered by the government’s 52-hour workweek cap, an industry report showed Sunday.

According to KB Financial Group’s report on self-employed workers here, nearly 9,900 fitness centers are in operation nationwide as of July, increasing 53 percent during the last 10 years. Of them, 1,109 opened last year.

Nearly half of the total were located in the metopolitan region -- Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, the report added.

Since the government implemented a 52-hour workweek system in 2018 to stop chronic overwork and promote work-life balance, fitness activities have increasingly gained popularity among office workers, especially millennials born between 1980 and 1994. 

Fueled by various YouTube workout channels, the fitness boom in Korea is expected to continue, with new athletic activities, including pilates and intenstive crossfit training services, drawing attention from health junkies and outdoors enthusiasts, the report noted. 

“Due to the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, these fitness gyms will inevitably undergo short-term damages but the so-called dumbelll economy is expected to recover quickly once the virus spread begins to slow down,” said an official at the KB Financial Group Research Institute.

By Choi Jae-hee (