Saving pounds: The rise of the budget gym

06 Aug
2018
Saving pounds: The rise of the budget gym

How do you spend your precious Sunday mornings? Catching up with friends? Taking much-needed rest?

It's becoming increasingly likely you might leave the house for an early-morning workout.

With more money than ever being spent on keeping fit, BBC News investigates who spends most on gym memberships, and what are the latest fitness trends.

1. Europe is the largest fitness market in the world

With a total value of around £23.5bn (26.6bn euros), the European fitness market expanded in 2017, up slightly from £23.2bn in 2016.

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According to statistics from Deloitte and EuropeActive, German fitness enthusiasts spent the most - £4.6bn - exceeding the UK's spend for the first time in 2017.

The US fitness industry recorded revenues of $30bn (£22.5bn) that same year, according to a report published by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).

2. The number of gyms is on the up

The number of fitness clubs across the 28 EU member states, plus Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and the Ukraine, increased by 3.2% to 59,055 in 2017.

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Last year, there were around 60 million members of gyms across those countries, a 4% rise as more people focused on fitness.

But while more gyms are popping up across Europe, it seems that people are spending less on them.

3. Switzerland spends the most on gym memberships

The average monthly gym membership fee dipped by 0.1% to £35.03, and it's thought that the expansion of a number of budget gym brands could be behind the falling expenditure.

Low-cost operators across Europe have enjoyed rapid growth in recent years. Germany-based McFIT added 110,000 members in 2017, while Pure Gym, the UK's largest gym operator, became the third European fitness company to reach one million members in February.

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The Swiss pay the most for gym access, with monthly membership fees standing at £58.45.

This is followed by Ireland and the UK, where monthly fees are estimated at £43.36 and £40.53.

4. What puts people off working out?

Despite the lower fees, the number one reason why people avoid the gym is still cost, according to market researchers Mintel.

Of 1,750 adults across the UK surveyed by the company in 2017, 47% said high membership fees stopped them signing up.

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Men were also more likely to prefer exercising outside - 28% versus 24% of women surveyed.

According to Public Health England, adults should do:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week and
  • Strength exercises on two or more days a week to work all the major muscles

5. Fitness trends for 2018

Low-cost forms of exercise are also leading the way in fitness trends.

High-intensity interval training - which involves short bursts of intense exercise, such as 30-second sprints, followed by a short break - is being hailed as the number-one trend for 2018.

The American College of Sports Medicine also says group exercise classes and body weight training, where people use their body as a form of resistance during exercise, are trendy.

Most popular fitness trends for 2018:

  1. High-intensity interval training
  2. Group exercise classes
  3. Wearable technology - including smart watches, heart-rate monitors or GPS tracking devices
  4. Body weight training
  5. Strength training, involving exercising with the use of barbells or other weights

The organisation's survey of 4,000 fitness professionals also found that smartphone exercise apps and dance workouts had become less popular than in previous years.

Resource: BBC

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