There are more than 7.2 thousand health and fitness clubs in the United Kingdom, according to this research, with around half (3,600) of those clubs being purely fitness gyms. In further research, the fitness industry is estimated to be worth a huge £3.9 billion by 2022, making it one of the most valuable industries in the country.
But what do those numbers mean for the upcoming new year? We put the statistics in context to see how the gym industry might shape up in 2022.
The Impact of Lockdown on Gym Statistics
With numerous UK lockdowns throughout 2020 and 2021, the impact this had on the gym industry was immense. Working out at home became the only option for fitness fans, so many gyms had to make the switch to accommodate online classes, or risk losing their business. According to this study, as a result of the pandemic and UK lockdowns, the number of gyms in the United Kingdom fell for the first time in 7 years, from 3,654 gyms in 2020 to an estimated 3,610 in 2021.
As the stats show, since the reopening of gyms, the UK population has come back with a fighting demand to get back into their training routines. Though some people may continue to workout from home, for many, all the time stuck at home has created a strong urge to get back out and into the gym. As you can see in the graph below, as lockdowns ended there were both sharp and trending increases in the monthly search volume for the term “Gym” in the UK, with the search volume jumping back up to over 400,000 before the second UK lockdown.
Gym Membership Statistics
In 2017, 5.7 million Brits held a gym membership, and this is estimated to reach 7 million by 2022. Between November 2019 to November 2020, approximately 6.4 million people participated in fitness classes in England.
Since the UK reopened its gyms for the final time, there has been another significant increase in gym demand, with one gym chain claiming to have seen over 1 million workouts in the first week after gyms reopened. Further to this, according to this study, members are coming to the gym more than they were pre-pandemic, with visits per subscriber per month 10%-15% higher than two years ago.
Gym Membership Demographics
So, we know that demand for gym memberships is high. But just who is joining the gym? Statistics show us that 54% of gym memberships and 76% of group fitness class attendees in the UK are female. This research also tells us that the three most popular group fitness classes amongst women are Spinning, Aerobics, and Yoga. With other additions to the gym market now including Women’s-Only Weight Training Classes, this can also be a popular option for women wanting to work on their fitness and functional strength.
Gym Facilities Statistics
Off the back of the national lockdowns, the sales of at-home workout equipment grew rapidly in the UK. In fact, between March and July 2020, sales of exercise bikes in the United Kingdom grew by over 2,000 percent, and the sales of steppers grew by an incredible 6500 percent. Because of this, the facilities gyms offer are taking on newfound importance. After all, if people can access the same level of expertise and facilities from the comfort of their own home, why will they bother going to the gym? That’s where highly-equipped gyms with expertly-trained coaches come in.
According to a recent study, workout facilities and price are the most important factors in a great gym facility, with these factors accounting for nearly 20% of highlighted issues. In addition to this, the study found that the fitness equipment must be varied, in sufficient quantity and be in perfect working order. The study further claims:
“High-priority items are predominantly related to the instructors’ competence and the accuracy of the information they provide, the overall cleanliness of the fitness centre and the value of service.”
At Strength Ambassadors, we offer a range of industry-standard facilities to our customers. These include:
- Powerlifting racks
- Olympic Weightlifting platforms
- Weight plates from world brand leader Eleiko
- Specialist olympic weightlifting barbells
- High spec flooring to withstand the heaviest lifts
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Gym Location Popularity Statistics
While the overall popularity of the gym seems to be on the rise, where specifically in the UK are gyms most popular? Below are the current most popular locations of gyms in the UK, based on the number of local searches for the term “Gym” per every 1000 people. As you can see, Salford, Manchester, Bristol and London come in the top 4 UK cities for gym popularity.
- Salford: 9.53
- Manchester: 8.22
- Bristol: 8.02
- London: 7.55
- Cambridge: 6.86
- Edinburgh: 6.75
- Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: 6.71
- Bath: 6.65
- Stockport: 6.52
- Oxford: 6.13
These figures were calculated by dividing the number of searches per area by the total area population and multiplying that figure by 1,000. Number of Searches were found using the Keyword analysis tool KWFinder.
Gym & Mental Health Statistics
Even before the pandemic and UK lockdowns, anxiety and imposter-syndrome at the gym – dubbed “Gymtimidation” – was a problem for some. In fact, one study from 2019 found that 1 in 4 women avoid exercising at the gym due to Gymtimidation. This number was even higher in 18-24 year olds, with 70% of this age group percent feeling this way. This growing issue was exacerbated by lockdowns, with so much time away from the gyms causing rising anxiety in those before heading back.
New research from McMaster University surveyed more than 1,600 subjects in an effort to understand how and why mental health, physical activity and sedentary behavior have changed throughout the course of the pandemic. This research suggests the pandemic has created a paradox, where mental health has become both a motivator for and a barrier to physical activity.
Luckily, gyms came back prepared. With women’s-only classes creating a safe space for women to workout without Gymtimidation, a catalogue of expert insight online to help you perfect your form theory before hitting the gym, and still step-by-step workout guides available online created to help you grasp the basics without the fear, which you could even use as a guide in the gym.
Looking For a Top Class Weightlifting and Powerlifting Gym in London?
As we head into 2022, these powerful statistics will continue to drive change in the fitness industry. Whether that’s with the new accommodations required to support gym-goers post-pandemic, the changing standards of cleanliness and processes in gym facilities, or a change in gym culture to put an end to Gymtimidation, Strength Ambassadors are up-to-date and on hand every step of the way.
At Strength Ambassadors, we offer an expert-led weightlifting, powerlifting and strength training facility in London. With years of experience in the industry, our gym (and coaching team) have all you need to get fit, achieve your goals and stay healthy. From group weightlifting classes to one-to-one personal coaching – we’ve got it covered. Not only that, but with our gym being fully stocked with all the best equipment and amenities – you won’t want to go anywhere else.
To find out more about our gym or available classes, contact us today!