Fitter Britain: Budget gyms lead the way for increased membership figures

Georgina Varley
Nearly 10m people now have a gym membership in the UK

The British fitness industry is flourishing. One in seven of us now possess a gym membership, a figure that has grown by over 5 per cent in the last year alone.

Low cost gyms have seen the largest growth. Membership of such gyms has risen by 450 per cent since 2012 and now makes up almost 35 per cent of all private sector gym membership.

According to a study by low-cost fitness company The Gym Group, the number of people who have attended their facilities more than once a week has climbed by over 20 per cent over the last five years.

Read more: How budget chain The Gym Group built up its muscle

David Minton, director of Leisure Database, said: “[this is] the golden age of fitness”.

The Gym Group’s latest study also highlights that while weight loss remains the main reason that 40 per cent of their members joined, there has been an increase by nearly a third over the last year in people joining because it "improves their quality of life".

These findings play into the recent trend for clean-living, which has been seen elsewhere in the increase in Britons purchasing drinks with low or no sugar rather than full-sugar products.

John Treharne, chief executive officer of The Gym Group, said: “It’s great to see that Britain is getting fitter and that low-cost gyms and The Gym Group are leading the way in facilitating this. Our model, focused on breaking down the barriers to fitness through affordable, contract free membership plans, and 24/7 opening hours, means that we attract people from all walks of life, giving everybody the opportunity to use top-quality exercise facilities irrespective of salary, experience or working hours.”

Read more: The Gym Group flexes its muscle as it moves into the black

The inexpensiveness of The Gym Group’s membership has encouraged people who were once alien to the fitness world to partake in exercise, with one in three members disclosing that The Gym Group membership was the first they had purchased.

With 9.7m people possessing a gym membership in the UK, the total market value stands at £4.7bn, up 6.3 per cent from 2016. And, with over 80 per cent of the population living within two miles of a gym, there’s few barriers to British people enjoying the cheap gym membership available to them.

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