Boston at night

Why Boston Ranks 5th in the MINDBODY Wellness Index

By Michelle Van Horn

This January, MINDBODY revealed the strongest wellness markets in America. The study, which ranks the 50 top wellness markets in the US, analyzes consumer attitudes and behaviors. The study also weighs the business performance in each city—ultimately providing the metro with a ranking. It was no surprise to see Boston in the Top 10, but let’s take a look at what makes this Northeastern city number five. After all, it’s no secret that our weather can make it difficult to stay motivated during the sometimes frigid temperatures and lack of sunshine!

What's working in Boston's favor:

  • Boston is committed. The study shows that 76% of our Boston residents engage in exercise at least once a week! As a West Coast transplant living in Boston, this is no surprise to me. I can’t recall a single time I had a workout buddy bail after we planned to take a class together. On the same note, I am a part-time yoga sculpt instructor who teaches the rooster shift (5:45 am!). This group is comprised of regulars who show up in rain, sleet, and snow.
  • Boston has money to spend on wellness. The median household income in Boston is 27% higher than the US median. With some of the best universities and colleges in our backyard and a strong job market, Boston consumers can afford to take care of themselves. Some boutique fitness classes cost upwards of $25, so it’s an important factor when we look at how our wellness businesses perform.
  • Boston is an educated city. We continue to learn more and more about the power exercise, meditation, and wellness have on our overall well-being. Boston consumers stay on top of new research and continue to implement healthy practices into their day-to-day.

The insights we weren’t expecting? Yes—there were a few!

  • Boston consumers spend more money on beauty than fitness! This totally surprised us. Especially after our travels this last year took us to Austin, Texas, and all over California. In other markets, we felt consumers’ demand for beauty had to be high! There seemed to be an unlimited supply of express facial bars, blowout bars, microblading shops, and lash extension studios. We don’t see the volume of those concepts here just yet, but Boston consumers are apparently ready for it. The average Boston consumer spends more money on beauty each year than the average person in LA.
  • Pilates ranks high as a group fitness exercise Boston consumers take advantage of! Just below yoga, consumers ranked Pilates as the group exercise they attend the most. We’ve seen reformer studio chains emerge all over the Greater Boston Area, and we’re told that the results are unbeatable. We’re excited to see Pilates rank so high on the list, and our core is quivering just thinking about our favorite Boston-based group reformer and mat Pilates classes!
  • Boston residents are interested in trying acupuncture. Yes, that’s right! Although it isn't something consumers are regularly incorporating into their routine today, they do want to try this alternative medicine. Did someone say needles?

So, here’s to you, Boston. Despite the long, cold months, you still make wellness a priority. Let’s see if we can creep even higher on the list next year—number one like our sports teams?

See how Boston stacks up against the rest of the US.

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About the author:

Michelle Van Horn

Michelle Van Horn

Boston Activation Manager

MINDBODY

Michelle Van Horn is the Boston Activation Manager. She relocated from MINDBODY’s corporate office in San Luis Obispo two years ago to Boston. Michelle previously worked with MINDBODY Technology Partners, and she has an interest in technology startups and health and wellness developers. Michelle is a Certified Yoga Sculpt Instructor teaching around Boston three days a week. Growing up, she lived all over the world including Iceland. Her favorite thing about Boston is the T and will take public transportation over driving any day!

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