Gym phenomenon over

Brits quit health clubs and gyms in their thousands

The heyday of the British gym is over as thousands of Brits quit their membership, leaving the future of the ubiquitous health club in jeopardy.

Just five years ago, 8.7 million of us were members of a gym or health club. However, that number is dropping by as much as eight per cent a year, despite the fact that fees are falling at a dramatic rate.

So why the drop in numbers? Well, it’s not just the economy, you’ll be pleased to hear, although that is playing a part. No, in fact, it’s just we’re finding new ways to burn the calories.

Yoga and Pilates continue to attract fans (and often at dedicated studios, rather than sports centres), while outdoor activities, including boot-camp-style workouts and running clubs, are also gaining in popularity.

Individuals are also questioning whether going to the gym actually makes a difference – the nation’s girth-line certainly isn’t shrinking.

‘People think you need to join a gym to get fitter, but activity doesn’t have to be done in a single 60 to 90-minute session,’ Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum tells The Times.

‘The real key is to build exercise into your daily life. You can become much more active without spending anything, and walking farther or taking stairs instead of escalators are approaches that could benefit a greater number of people.’

How do you workout? Are you a member of a gym? Leave your comments on the form below…

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