Buckingham Palace with crowds on the Mall

The MAMIL may be a recently-minted humorous acronym for a certain breed of cyclist – the ‘Middle-Aged Man In Lycra’ – but evidence from Kantar’s TGI shows that the species didn’t exist a generation ago. Furthermore, 50-64 year-old men are overall much more active nowadays than they used to be.

Today, 18% of 50-64 year-old men enjoy cycling as a leisure pursuit. Compared to the 13% of cyclists among the overall adult population, members of this group are 40% more likely to be found on two wheels – so the MAMIL really does exist. Interest in cycling has grown from almost nothing thirty years ago: in 1989 it wasn’t even measured on TGI.

It’s not only cycling that has grown in popularity. Men aged 50-64 are looking after their health and fitness to a greater extent nowadays, and in a range of ways. Overall 51% engage in at least one activity, compared to 41% in 1989.

Swimming is the most popular pursuit today, with 23% participating, up from 10%. Playing golf has declined among the population overall, but participation by this group has remained consistent at 9%. Gym-based cardio exercise has caught it up however.

But some activities are in decline. Snooker, one of the three most popular activities at 10% in 1989, is now less popular at 6%. The biggest change, however, is in the number playing bowls. The 7% participating in 1989 made it the fourth most popular activity among 50-64 year-old men at the time; now only 2% are to be found on the bowling green.

Not only are men of 50-64 more active today; they are engaging in activities which require more exertion. Many of them are heeding the messages about ways of maintaining their health and fitness, and are actively responding. This suggests opportunities for organisations and businesses involved in a range of fields – leisure provision, nutrition and sports equipment to name a few.


GI (Target Group Index) is a continuous survey which has been carried out in Great Britain since 1969, based on 25,000 adults per annum, who provide information on their use of all major products, brands and services.  Media exposure, attitudinal and demographic data are also included.  Kantar, who own and operate the TGI (Target Group Index), are making major donations of data to AMSR. 

To explore the TGI archive within AMSR, click here. (This link to the archive contents will open as a separate page)

Contributed by Geoff Wicken


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