Intro: Let’s get physical

It happens every new year. Too many slices of fruitcake are devoured, buttoning the pants gets a little harder and working out starts looking a whole lot better.

Shedding a few pounds is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Any gym can attest to the influx of snowbirds after the holidays. You know the folks, the ones who take over the elliptical machines in the dead of winter, but fly away in the spring.

The Washington area, however, does have a healthy population of fitness buffs. So much so that the metropolitan area ranked as the healthiest and fittest place in the U.S. from 2008 to 2010, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Minneapolis knocked our region out of the top spot last year because of the rise in smokers and cases of diabetes. Still, four out of five locals surveyed by the college reported exercising regularly.

It’s no wonder that the Washington area is witnessing an explosion in gyms, yoga studios, running clubs and sports apparel stores in the past few years. We decided to take a look at how various segments of the local fitness industry are doing as the market is gaining more attention.

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