The annual urge to get active and return to the gym has returned to Britain, despite the lingering cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, according to an analysis of data from the UK’s leading sports consultancy.
Data from leisure sites from across the country in January show that new members accounted for 9 percent of the total number of those attending a gym last month. That compares with January 2020, the last January before the arrival of the Coronavirus, when new members accounted for 10 percent of all those going to a gym.
But 4GLOBAL’s analysis shows that the recovery is being driven by some regions of England more than others.
The East, North-West and North-East of England saw big surges of new members. The North West saw the biggest proportion of new members with more than 14 percent of attendees of gyms having brand new memberships.
Yorkshire and the East Midlands saw the most reluctance to take out a gym membership last month.
London and the South-East also showed the need for some catching-up, with new memberships only around three-quarters of their pre-pandemic levels
4GLOBAL’s has used its industry leading Datahub to produce these findings. Their platform draws on information supplied by hundreds of leisure sites across the UK, analysing more than 1.3 billion data points about the physical activity of over 20 million people.
4GLOBAL will continue to track the recovery of the gym sector in the months to come, to see whether the end of the ‘Plan B’ restrictions will encourage more people to take out a new gym membership.
The findings build on 4GLOBAL’s innovative research which has concluded:
• 3 in 10 people who were previously active before the pandemic have not returned to activity.
• The over 55’s were the age group least likely to have resumed being active.
This is despite previous studies showing that 4 in 10 people in the UK had reported gaining weight during the pandemic, with people on average saying they’d put on half a stone because of lockdowns and working from home.
Eloy Mazon, Chief Executive Officer of 4global commented: “Physical activity is a vital part of maintaining an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing. We will continue to track the data as we move further into 2022 and hope, as we are now seeing the pandemic restrictions begin to lift, that we will begin to see a continued surge in activity, hopefully to levels greater than they were pre-pandemic.”
4GLOBAL has recently partnered with Sport England, playing a pivotal role in the ‘Moving Communities’ programme. Its data will help make informed decisions on where to target investment, to help England build on its recovery from the pandemic.
As we move into 2022 and through the latest iteration of Covid variants, the sector has pivoted with a stronger focus on engaging health with physical activity. This is centred around helping the population fight future pandemics of this nature and treat and support those suffering with Long Covid.
Delivered through integrated care programmes by fitness professionals in partnership with Health care providers, this is the future of the physical activity sector.