Research reveals London’s fitness obsession
1 in 8 of Brits are members of a gym and the UK is home to 6,400 fitness facilities. It has become clear that as a nation, we are becoming more and more health conscious, and fitness fanatical, with “gym culture” emerging as a trend within popular culture. The UK has also seen a 55% increase in health shops, as well as an increase in organic food and fitness supplement stores.
New research examining which London boroughs are the most fitness obsessed has shown, at the lower end of the table is Bromley, with just 0.2 gyms per sq. mile, followed by Hounslow and Barnet with 0.3 gyms per sq. mile. Croydon had the most gyms at 43. However, when taking into consideration the area (square miles), Islington came out top of the table, with 33 gyms – 3.5 gyms per square mile making Islington the most fitness fanatic borough in London. Islington is followed closely by Tower Hamlets and Hammersmith & Fulham with 3.1 gyms per sq. mile.
Interestingly, the majority of the boroughs situated at the top of the table are those in North East London. This could be due to the number of young people residing in these areas, which remain a popular choice for the younger generation, with a ‘trendy, hip and cool’ image attached to them.
A survey asked those aged 22-30 years, what was important when looking to move into a new area. Cost, nightlife, and local amenities were the most frequently cited. However, local leisure/fitness centers were cited as an important factor for 55% of those surveyed.
The impact of mass media has demonstrated how people perceive themselves as the public continues to be saturated with adverts and images of the ‘ideal’ slim, toned woman and the muscular man. More and more Brits are turning to social media to share their fitness regime and gyms have quickly become social hubs for a get-together.
Wearable tech and sports fashion have also contributed to the increase. Last Christmas, 2,600,000 purchases were made for wearable tech, which analyses movements and collects data regarding fitness levels, calorie burn and heart rate. The popularity in gym classes such as spinning and body pump has also contributed, where often a membership is required to get better value deals.