Group exercise transforming leisure centres, says report
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Group exercise transforming leisure centres, says report

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Growing numbers of leisure centre members are swapping traditional activities like swimming for spin bikes and other group workouts, a ukactive Report has revealed.

Data from over three million customers and 130 million individual visits across 315 leisure centres in the UK over the past two years were analysed for the Moving Communities: active leisure trends report, which was produced in collaboration with activity insight platform Datahub.

Focusing on three core activities – swimming, group workouts and fitness – the number of swimming visits rose by 16 per cent to 21.5 million in 2016, from 18.1 million in 2015. Group workout visits grew by 13 per cent in 2016 to 11.4 million, from 9.9 million in 2015, while fitness attendances expanded 10 per cent in 2016 to 9.1 million, from 8.3 million in 2015.

Despite swimming remaining the most popular activity, the report found “before 2017, 40 per cent of visits to leisure centres were for swimming” but that in 2017 “this dropped to 35 per cent, perhaps representing the expanding product portfolio that is now on offer and the increased popularity of group workouts.”

The data shows that the proportion of leisure centre members taking part in group exercise classes, such as cardio and indoor cycling, rose by 30 per cent during the period, with women driving the increase.

Dr Steven Mann, ukactive research director, said: “Group exercise has been one of the physical activity sector’s biggest success stories in recent years and it’s great that this is helping to drive more visitors to their local leisure centres.”

The 20-page report shows that memberships and visits grew over the two-year period.

The percentage of female members remained constant at 52 per cent. But the report said: “Despite there being more female members, the percentage they contribute to overall visits is disproportionately lower at 49 per cent. This indicates there is a small but significant number of females who are not fully utilising their memberships.”

Leisure centres are more ethnically diverse than the population as a whole, with Asian and black users accounting for 13 per cent and 8 per cent of members respectively, as opposed to 8 per cent and 3 per cent of the overall UK population, the document said.

The over 65s are hugely under-represented in leisure centre memberships, making up only 9 per cent of the base compared to 22 per cent of UK population, the report revealed.

To view the report, click here

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Growing numbers of leisure centre members are swapping traditional activities like swimming for spin bikes and other group workouts, a ukactive report has revealed.
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