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About ukactive
ukactive is the UK’s leading not-for-profit membership body for the physical activity sector, bringing together more than 4,000 member organisations and partners in our shared ambition to get More People, More Active, More Often. From gyms, leisure centres, sports bodies and other activity providers, to health bodies, tech firms, major consumer brands and equipment manufacturers, our community collaborates across the private, public and third sectors. ukactive facilitates high-impact partnerships, conceives and drives breakthrough campaigns, conducts critical research and lobbies the Government to recognise the power of the physical activity sector to address today’s biggest issues – including ‘levelling up’ health, reducing the burden on the NHS and social care, reducing crime, revitalising high streets and communities, and tackling loneliness.

Key products and services
We deliver a world-class membership service which is designed to support your organisation to grow. ukactive members form a community of organisations which represents the most powerful network in the industry, supporting knowledge-sharing, new research, business improvement, and collective lobbying.

Tailored member benefits ensure your organisation has access to the latest industry news, reports and business intelligence to inform your decisions and help you grow. Member newsletters, webinars and networking events provide support from our highly skilled and dedicated team, as well as strategic leads with expertise in the critical areas for sector growth. Members also receive important government policy updates and essential technical updates for your operations, as well as discounts on ukactive events, award entries, and services from partners.

Members of our Strategic Partner Group receive access to exclusive networking events and promotional opportunities, providing a valuable platform for sector leadership, communication and new business.
ukactive video gallery:
Key personnel
Mike Farrar, Chair
Huw Edwards, CEO
Steven Scales, Director of Membership and Sector Development
Jack Shakespeare, Director of Research, Policy and Communications
Key customers
Gyms, health clubs, leisure centres, fitness studios, swimming pools, sports bodies, activity providers, equipment suppliers, technology suppliers, health bodies, education bodies, health charities, consumer fitness brands
updates & press releases
14 May 2024
ukactive calls for Government to slash health costs for NHS and business as consumer demand for gyms and leisure centres grows

  • ukactive launches Consumer Engagement report, based on quarterly polling, uncovering motivations and barriers for people using gyms and leisure facilities.

  • Report shows mental health (79%) as one of the leading reasons for joining the gym.

  • ukactive calls for Government to raise awareness of health programmes in gyms and leisure centres to tackle health crisis and save millions for NHS and economy.

ukactive is calling for the Government to tap into growing consumer demand for gyms and leisure centres as it publishes its first Consumer Engagement report, revealing major opportunities to improve health and wellbeing across the UK.

ukactive’s Consumer Engagement project monitors the nation’s relationship with gyms, swimming pools and leisure facilities, with the inaugural report based on 16 months’ worth of data taken across five waves of polling from more than 10,000 existing, former, and potential fitness and leisure consumers.
Polling* is collected each quarter in partnership with Savanta and tracks trends on a range of topics, including current physical activity levels, gym membership status and usage; barriers and motivations to physical activity participation; what health means to consumers; the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and how the sector is supporting users with long-term health conditions.

The annual report will be followed by regular quarterly insights which provide valuable analysis of consumer attitudes and trends – helping the sector to reach five million new members by 2030 as part of ukactive’s Vision 2030 strategy.

The report reveals the following motivations for taking out gym memberships and accessing facilities:

  • To improve/maintain physical strength and fitness (82%)

  • To improve mental health and wellbeing, including managing anxiety or depression (79%)

  • To improve my overall confidence (75%)

  • To improve/maintain my physical appearance (75%)

  • To improve my sleep (67%)

While the findings demonstrate growing recognition of the holistic benefits of physical activity in these environments, the report also demonstrates the potential for a much greater role in supporting community health and the economy.

The data from January 2024’s wave of polling, shows that just 17% of respondents with a health condition are aware of programmes within their local gym or fitness facility that could support their recovery or management of their condition.

The figure is lower for those with a health condition who have never been a member of a facility, with just 6% having an awareness of such programmes (compared to 44% for current members) – suggesting millions are missing out on opportunities to help them manage, support and improve their condition.

Fitness and leisure operators across the UK are running proven health programmes that relieve pressure on frontline NHS services and provide better access to support at the heart of communities.

ukactive’s MSK (musculoskeletal) Hubs pilot has seen strong growth across more than 100 sites. A pilot programme at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust which sees physicians offering physiotherapy sessions within gyms and leisure centres in London, saw missed appointments drop from 17-23% to 12-16% during the pilot.

Another proven programme is GM Active’s Prehab4Cancer initiative in Greater Manchester, which helps newly diagnosed cancer patients improve their outlook through physical activity.

Widely published evidence shows that physical activity is essential in preventing over 20 chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, many types of cancer, MSK conditions, depression and anxiety, and dementia – generating more than £5.2  billion in healthcare savings a year.

Ill health among working-age people is projected to cost the UK economy approximately £150bn a year, with £70bn of this being a direct cost to the Government.

The overall costs of mental ill health equate to £153bn – double the entire budget of the NHS in England (data from 2022). NHS waiting lists are estimated to be close to a record 10 million people.
While the Government is left to manage a growing health crisis with reduced budgets, today’s report demonstrates the opportunity for major returns based on a combination of driving public awareness and targeted investment in gyms, swimming pools and leisure facilities.

The report also identifies the main barriers to joining facilities for potential consumers, including:

  • The cost of a membership (69%)

  • Not seeing the need for a membership (47%)

  • Not having the confidence to attend a facility (43%)

However, with operators offering a wide range of memberships to cater for all budgets, more can be done by the Government, working in partnership with the sector, to raise awareness of the options, the support, and the benefits of accessing these facilities.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “We are proud to launch this major new report which provides the data and insights necessary for our sector and the Government to do more to get the nation active.

“It shows that today’s gym member recognises the myriad benefits of being active for their mental health and wellbeing, as well as their physical condition.
“However, it also shows that too many people are unaware of the incredible options and services available in their community to support their overall health or to help manage a condition.

“Gyms and leisure centres can support mental health and pathways into employment, meaning that if we can reach more people, the Government could save hundreds of millions when it comes to NHS costs and economic inactivity.

“Any future Government must prioritise three simple things if it is serious about shifting the dial on the nation’s health and our economy. The first is working with our sector to recognise the fullest role it can play in supporting the nation’s mental health. The second is empowering our sector to reach even more people, which can be achieved through reforms to the tax and regulatory system that would help operators to lower prices. Finally, collaborate with our sector on a national campaign to increase awareness of the fantastic health programmes in gyms and leisure centres.”

Sarah Hitchcock-Hall, Group Commercial Director at Dyaco UK, the Core Partner for ukactive’s Consumer Engagement workstream, said: “We are thrilled to be strategically partnering with ukactive to help us guide our suppliers with key consumer and industry trends, meaning we can be at the forefront of knowing how the UK health and fitness sector needs to continue to adapt and evolve.

“We are passionate about helping to drive ukactive’s vision of getting five million people active by 2030, attracting as many new people as possible to use gyms and leisure centres on a regular basis, understanding the diverse barriers, wants, and needs of the nation.”

To find out more about Consumer Engagement and to read the first annual report, click here.

*Data within this report was collected across five waves of polling between September 2022 and January 2024. Data collection dates were: Wave 1 – 23-26 September 2022, Wave 2 – 17-20 March 2023, Wave 3 – 13-17 July 2023, Wave 4 – 22-25 September 2023, Wave 5 – 4-11 January 2024. Polling was conducted through market research specialists Savanta, with a UK nationally representative (based on age, region, gender, and social grade) minimum sample of 2,000 adults. Analysis was undertaken by the ukactive Research Institute.
The report shows mental health (79%) as one of the leading reasons for joining the gym Credit: / LightField Studios
14 May 2024
ukactive announces Governance restructure as 30 new representatives join Member Council groups
ukactive has announced 30 new appointments to its Member Council groups as it develops its Governance structure to ensure it remains fully representative of the membership.

The newly appointed members take the total representatives within ukactive’s Councils up to 70 members. These members represent more than 2,000 sites, as well as some of the most established suppliers within the sector which collectively support thousands of operators across the UK.

Previously, ukactive’s overarching Membership Council was supported by two sub-councils – ‘Independent Gym Operators’ and the ‘Wider Activity Forum’.

The new Governance structure means that the overarching Member Council is now supported by six sub-council groups within ukactive, each consisting of up to 12 representatives from across the physical activity sector. The overarching Member Council is now made up of the Chair from each of the six sub-groups.

The new groups and nominated Chairs:

  • Private Operator Council – chaired by Dave Courteen, Managing Director at Mosaic Group

  • Public Operator Council – chaired by Peter Bundey, CEO of GLL

  • Independent Operator Council – chaired by Jean-Claude Vacassin, Managing Director of Foundry

  • Supplier Council – chaired by Sarah Watts, Founder and CEO of Alliance Leisure

  • Wider Activity Forum – chaired by Andrew Denton, Chair of the Outdoor Industries Association

  • Standards and Legislation Committee – chaired by Caleb Brown, Head of Health and Safety at David Lloyd Leisure.

Each group is responsible for representing the voice of ukactive’s members to accurately inform and support its strategic milestones as part of the Vision 2030 strategy.
Thirty new high-calibre individuals (listed below) have been appointed to the Member Council groups, with representatives from some of the leading operators, suppliers and partners across the sector.

These appointments were made following an extensive nominations process, with voting opening to ukactive members from 11 March to 22 March, where over 8,000 votes were cast across all of the Council groups.

The newly appointed representatives met for their first quarterly meetings at the start of the new financial year, and they will continue to meet in-person every quarter to discuss sector intelligence, risks and opportunities facing the sector, and the wider landscape for growth.

Danny Melling, Interim Director of Membership Experience at ukactive, said: “It’s great to welcome more key members into our Member Council groups and a huge congratulations goes to those who were voted in by our members.

“Each Council member has a key role to play in our Vision 2030 mission to get over five million more members involved in our sector and using our facilities.
“Our Councils will help to guide our strategic plans by sharing valuable feedback, insight and trends to make sure we’re collaborating at each milestone.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the contributions of each of the new Council members and the impact they’ll have in helping us to get more people, more active, more often.”

If you are a ukactive member and would like to share views or questions with the Councils, please send them by email, including the name of your representative Council in the subject line, to: [email protected]
The list below shows the new members on ukactive’s Councils. To see the full list of members on all of ukactive’s Councils, click here.
Private Operator Council, new members:

  • Andrea Dearden – David Lloyd – Marketing Director

  • James Lawrence – Lifestyle Fitness – Managing Director

  • Justin Musgrove – Fitness First – CEO

  • Alun Peacock – JD Gyms – CEO

  • Paul Ramsey – 3d Leisure – Managing Director

  • John Treharne – The Gym Group – Founder & Chairman

Public Operator Council, new members:

  • Peter Bundey – GLL – CEO

  • Ben Beevers – Everyone Active – Group Development Director

  • Stuart Lockwood – Oldham Active – CEO

  • Natalie McGuire – Brimhams Active – Director of Business Development

  • Jason Stanton – Mytime Active – CEO

  • Anthony Cawley – Fusion Lifestyles – CEO

  • Jo Cherrett – Trafford Leisure – CEO

  • Andy Farr – Parkwood Leisure – Strategic Director

  • Sally Kurton – Serco – Commercial Director

  • Ivan Horsfall-Turner – Freedom Leisure – CEO

  • Vicki Kennedy – Scottish Leisure Network Group – Chair

  • Stephen Wren – Gravesham Community Leisure – Managing Director

  • Belinda Steward – Places Leisure – Managing Director

Supplier Council, new members:

  • Dave Alstead – Xplor – Commercial Director

  • Elaine Briggs – Future Fit – Chief Education and Partnership Officer

  • Craig Cocking – Life Fitness – UK Managing Director

  • Lawrence Everest – Love Recruitment – CEO

  • Tom Gozna – Bigwave Media – Director

  • Chloe Kinch – Proinsight – Director of Client Success

  • Jonathan Monks – Myzone – Director UK & Ireland

  • Alex Peacock – Leisure Labs – Founder

  • Matthew Pengelly – Matrix – Managing Director

  • Steve Scales – Gladstone – CEO

  • Dawn Tuckwell – Co-Founder – Action Group

The new Governance structure means that the overarching Member Council is now supported by six sub-council groups within ukactive Credit: / - Yuri A
10 May 2024
Parliamentarians prove they are ‘Fit for Office’ as Westminster’s physical activity champions crowned
• The office of Andrew Lewer MP (Conservative) was named as the winner of the ‘Fit for Office’ physical activity challenge 2024

• Alex Davies-Jones (Labour) was the highest-scoring individual MP

• Baroness Helene Hayman scored the highest among Peers in Westminster

• Parliamentarians were challenged with staying as active as possible throughout March to realise the value of physical activity

The office of Andrew Lewer MP has been named the winner of the ‘Fit for Office’ challenge, hosted by ukactive in partnership with Myzone.

The month-long challenge, which is designed to encourage MPs, Peers and their offices to be physically active for their own health, and to recognise its value to constituents, saw 146 people sign up, representing 53 offices.

To climb the leaderboard, participants used Myzone’s wearable devices to track their physical activity effort levels and obtain Myzone Effort Points (MEPs). MEPs measure effort rather than distance or time spent exercising, and therefore reward people for being more physically active regardless of their previous fitness.

MEP scores for all participants in each office were tallied and divided by the number of participants in each team to provide the average score for each office.

Fit for Office 2024: Top five offices (MEP average per team):

• Office of Andrew Lewer MP – 18,076 MEPs
• Office of Alex Davies-Jones MP with 10,674 MEPs
• Office of Dehenna Davison MP – 8,138 MEPs
• Office of Neale Hanvey MP – 6,265 MEPs
• Office of Lia Nici MP – 6,182 MEPs

This year, individuals have also been recognised for their success in the challenge, with Alex Davies-Jones being crowned the highest-scoring MP and Baroness Hayman taking home the top prize for the highest scoring Peer.

The largest team (and the highest cumulative team score, of 46,194 total MEPs) came from Bob Blackman’s office, with eight members of staff competing.

Fit for Office 2024: Top three MPs

• Alex Davies-Jones MP (Labour) – 10,674 MEPs
• Bob Blackman MP (Conservative) – 10,300 MEPs
• Kim Leadbeater MP (Labour) – 6,788 MEPs

Events were held throughout the challenge to help participants get involved and stay active. Participants were invited to a free health check drop-in session with TV doctor, Dr Hussain Al-Zubaidi and his team at the Westminster Gym, which is operated by Jubilee Hall Trust. Some also took part in a spin class led by a Myzone Master trainer, Billy Burchett, to help boost their effort points.

The underlying message at the conclusion of the challenge comes at a pivotal time for the nation’s health, with NHS waiting lists reaching 7.75 million and ill- health among working-age people causing many to leave the workforce – an issue that is projected to cost the UK economy approximately £150bn a year (equivalent to 7% of GDP and an increase of 60% in the past six years).

Being physically active has proven benefits for our mental and physical health, allowing people to remain healthy, stay in employment and contributing to the economy, As the General Election approaches, ukactive will continue engaging parliamentarians to recognise the essential role of physical activity and the sector in addressing the health of the nation and economic productivity.

The challenge has previously been held in the USA and Australia, as well as the UK in November 2022, when Antony Higginbotham MP’s office emerged victorious.

Andrew Lewer, MP, whose office won the Fit for Office challenge, said: “It's been great seeing my office being so engaged with the Fit for Office challenge and they’re thrilled to take the winning prize. Whether working from home or in the office, many of us lead a sedentary working life, and that’s why it is important to be active".

Alex Davies-Jones, the top scoring MP in this year’s Fit for Office challenge, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge – it pushed me out of my comfort zone, encouraged healthy habits, and improved both my mental and physical health. It's given me the confidence to keep this new routine up and encourage others to do the same!”

Bob Blackman, the second highest scoring MP in the challenge, said: “The challenge was a good excuse to get outside and rack up some steps, definitely initiated some healthy competition in the office too! Thank you to all at ukactive for organising this great opportunity.”

Baroness Hayman, the top scoring Peer in this year’s Fit for Office challenge, said: “I exercise pretty regularly anyway, but do tend to get a bit stuck in a rut. So, taking part in the' Fit for Office' challenge was a really good incentive to push myself further. And taking part as a team made it much more fun for us all!”"

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive said: “This year’s Fit for Office challenge has seen even more parliamentarians lead the way and demonstrate the value of physical activity for their own health and wellbeing, as well as its importance in the lives of the constituents they serve.

“As we approach the General Election, the UK’s political parties must recognise the role of the physical activity sector in improving the nation’s health, reducing waiting lists and boosting economic growth.

“Fit for Office is testament to this ambition and we’re calling on our political leaders to work with the physical activity sector to help achieve our potential and get millions more people active.”

David Stalker, Director of Myzone, said: “We’d like to congratulate the office of Andrew Lewer for being the winner of this year’s Fit for Office challenge and equal congratulations to all of the Parliamentarians that got involved in boosting their activity levels over the challenge period.

“Our Myzone devices have helped us to measure, monitor and manage the effort-based competition and have given participants the motivation and support needed to experience, first-hand, the countless physical, emotional, and social benefits of keeping active.

“We very much hope that through our accurate heart rate tracking technology we have helped policy makers understand the power of movement and encouraged them to lead by example. Their involvement in this challenge and positive experience brings the importance of physical activity into the heart of the political conversation.

“We’re now looking forward to seeing how this challenge impacts Parliamentarians continued activity levels. and welcoming all participants, and more, to take part in the challenge again next year.”
The top three MPs were Alex Davies-Jones, Bob Blackman and Kim Leadbeater Credit: ukactive
02 May 2024
ukactive calls on Government to help drive growth as gyms, pools and leisure centres report continued pressure from energy costs

  • Latest survey of ukactive members reveals ongoing operating pressures facing physical activity sector due to high energy costs.

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of council areas are at risk of losing their leisure centre(s) or seeing reduced services at their leisure centre(s) before September.

  • 5% of private operators surveyed have closed some or all their sites since October 2023.

  • ukactive sets out key areas for support as it urges Government to help more people access these essential facilities.

A survey of ukactive members has revealed that nearly a quarter (24%) of council areas remain at risk of seeing their leisure centres close or reduce services by September, due to ongoing high energy costs and other operational pressures.

ukactive’s energy risk survey* received responses from public sector operators across 143 council areas in the UK and from private sector operators representing a total of 579 sites.

It found that 62.5% of fitness facilities run by private sector operators are extremely likely to have to increase customer pricing in the next six months to help cope with high operating costs, with 75% having already been forced to raise prices since October 2023. Continued price increases would not be a sustainable solution for businesses or for consumers.

While energy prices have stabilised to a degree, they remain substantially higher than before the energy crisis and in some cases, gyms, pools, and leisure centres have seen bills rise by more than 200%.

To respond to these pressures, publicly operated facilities in 15% of council areas have introduced changes to their financial or operational models to protect against the impact of further energy price rises.

The current geopolitical situation on energy costs, increased staffing costs and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis were all listed as areas of serious, ongoing concern by operators.

Support for some public sector operators came in the form of Sport England’s Swimming Pool Support Fund, announced in March last year. However, demand greatly outstripped supply, with less than 50% of applicants being successful in phase one. Many other providers, such as those in the private sector, those without pools, and operators outside of England were not eligible.

Phase two of the fund provided £60m of grants to boost operators’ energy efficiency and ukactive’s Sustainable Futures programme is helping to support the sector’s transition to net zero, however, the immediate pressures remain.

Closures have been reported across the regions, with local communities rallying to call on MPs and the Government to do more to support local authorities and local businesses.

In August 2023, the Government announced its ‘Get Active’ strategy for sport and physical activity, which laid out ambitious targets to get 3.5 million more people active by 2030.

Yet, with continued financial pressures forcing operators to reduce services, change operating models, or close some of their sites, as well as ongoing uncertainty given the wider geopolitical situation, ukactive is calling for the Government to recognise growing public demand and help more people to access these essential services.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “By most measures, the health of our nation is clearly deteriorating, and we have never needed these essential facilities more.

“The Government has set out its ambitions to get millions of people more active and we have seen clear demand from consumers to do this.

“However, persistently high energy costs and other growing pressures are placing gyms, pools, and leisure centres in extreme difficulty, being left to balance the needs of the community with smaller budgets.

“Operators are doing everything they can to avoid passing these costs onto customers, but now is the time for the Government to help drive greater numbers to these facilities as part of its strategy for a healthier, more active nation.”

Three key areas for Government action:

  1. Publishing the strategic Vision for Facilities referenced in the Get Active strategy to provide long-term security for gyms, pools, and leisure centres, particularly in the public sector.

  2. Reduce operating cost pressures through reform of the tax system, including full reform of the business rates system, a permanent reduction in VAT for facilities, and the introduction of ukactive’s proposed Workout from Work scheme.

  3. Drive participation to help tackle our growing health crisis and back the work ukactive is leading with other industry partners to integrate our members’ services into the NHS and to incentivise greater participation overall, in line with its own ambitions within the Get Active strategy.

*The survey, conducted in February, asked operators a series of questions, including grading their risk of service restrictions (such as reduced opening times, pool temperatures, classes) or risk of closures, based on the following categories:

Red – Unsecure: at risk of closure up to 30 September 2024

Amber – Unsecure: at risk of reduced services up to 30 September 2024

Green – Secure: no risk of closure and/or reduced services up to 30 September 2024

Nearly a quarter of council areas remain at risk of seeing their leisure centres close or reduce services by September Credit: / qoppi
30 Apr 2024
Date announced for National Fitness Day 2024 as physical activity sector prepares celebrations for communities across UK
ukactive has announced that National Fitness Day 2024 will take place on Wednesday 18 September, hot on the heels of the Olympics and Paralympics in Paris.

The nation’s most active day of the year promises to be the biggest yet, with vibrant new branding for the 2024 campaign to reflect the fun and diversity at its heart.

Now in its 13th year, National Fitness Day will be supported by sports rewards platform, Endurance Zone and men’s mental health charity, Movember, for the second year in a row.

Gyms, swimming pools, leisure centres, sports clubs, studios, schools, workplaces, and online providers across the UK will be opening their doors to encourage as many people as possible to try something new and reap the physical, social and mental benefits of physical activity. 

Last year, 10.2 million people in the UK were directly motivated to participate in some form of activity on National Fitness Day, whether for the first time or for the hundredth time. The campaign had a global media reach of 57.2 million, with 31.3 million engaging on social media.

Following this success, the theme of ‘Your Health is for Life’ will return, as ukactive and its campaign partners emphasise the essential role physical activity can play in our physical and mental health at every stage of our lives.

It comes at a crucial time for the nation’s health and wellbeing, after Sport England’s 2022-23 Active Lives data showed growing inequalities in physical activity levels across the nation.
From children and young people to the working age population and the older generations, National Fitness Day will encourage everyone to embrace being more active and why is it important for your overall health.

The Fitness Day Rewards App from Endurance Zone is now available to download from all app stores where the more you move, the more points you acquire that can be redeemed on prizes and discounts on the nation’s favourite brands.

The campaign will also help the physical activity sector to demonstrate the essential role it plays in helping to prevent more than 20 chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression and anxiety.

Movember will help the campaign to raise awareness around the importance of mental health and how there is a clear link between being physically active and having better mental health.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “It’s clear that our nation’s gyms, pools, leisure centres, fitness studios and sports clubs have never been so in demand, showing how much people value physical activity for their physical and mental health.

“It’s great to announce the date for National Fitness Day and some fantastic partners in the shape of Endurance Zone and Movember, to help us make this year our biggest yet.

“National Fitness Day really is a fun day with a serious message and this year, with the potential for a General Election and an exciting summer of sport, we have a golden chance to highlight the value of physical activity at all ages, and the role of our members in building a happier and healthier nation.”
National Fitness Day 2024 will take place on Wednesday 18 September Credit: ukactive
26 Apr 2024
Active Lives 2022-23: Sport, recreation and physical activity sector calls for stronger measures to reduce inequalities
The National Sector Partners Group (NSPG) has issued the following response to the latest Active Lives Adult Survey from Sport England, published on 25 April.

The latest Active Lives Adult Survey continues to show the recovery of the sport, recreation and physical activity sector from Covid-19, with a modest increase in the numbers of active adults. 

However, this data clearly demonstrates that we must work harder and faster to generate transformative change in our nation’s health and wellbeing, unlocking the potential of our sector to reduce inequalities and deliver real progress in activity levels. 

As evidenced by the National Sector Partners Group (NSPG), the UK is currently 11th out of 15 comparable European nations for activity levels, and modest increases such as this will do little to make the UK the most active nation in Europe, with all the associated health and economic benefits.  

These results show a growing gap in levels of activity among different income and deprivation demographics. This was identified as a clear focus of the ‘Get Active’ strategy announced last year.

We are still seeing little or slow progress with tackling long standing inequalities based on gender, ethnicity and disability. Men are still more likely to be active than women (66% v 61%), activity is less common for adults with disabilities of long-term conditions (48% v 69% for those without) and there has been a drop in the proportion of Black and Asian adults active now compared to 2015.

There is also a clear issue with activity among the working age population, with stagnant growth among those aged 35-54. As the country struggles with economic inactivity and low productivity, this clearly demonstrates the need for more robust action to create a more active workforce that is not only healthier, but more productive as a consequence.
Government must now set out in detail how it will dramatically increase activity levels, or risk missing out on the ambitious targets set last year, and work at pace with our organisations to effect this change.

The NSPG remains committed to working with Government through the National Physical Activity Taskforce to deliver on the ambitions of the ‘Get Active’ strategy in raising activity levels across all demographics.  

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “Fitness and swimming activities continue to drive activity levels as the third biggest source of activity, behind only walking and active travel, and with an increase of 1.5% on the previous year (approximately 800,000 more people).  

“This growth is reflected in the increasing membership figures shown in ukactive’s recent Private Sector Benchmarking report, and the growth seen across Europe in Deloitte’s report with EuropeActive.  

“The evidence shows our nation’s gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres are essential services in supporting the health and wellbeing of the community.  
“In order to achieve a transformative impact on activity levels and reverse the growing health inequalities shown by Active Lives, we must see our political leaders prioritise working with the physical activity sector. 

“Our members continue to face significant operational pressures in the form of high energy costs, staffing, and the cost-of-living – putting communities at further risk of losing access to support. 

“As we approach a General Election, any future Government must demonstrate a strategy that uses all the levers at its disposal to empower our sector to play its fullest role in improving our nation’s physical and mental health. 

“The positive association between activity levels and wellbeing seen in the survey reflects our own research which showed mental health as one of the leading reasons for people taking out a gym membership (78%). 

“Furthermore, while it is encouraging to see groups aged over 55 and 75 becoming more active, the stagnation among working-age adults aged 35 to 54 is a major concern. More must be done to incentivise working age people to be active, because health is essential for our economic growth.” 

Read more about ukactive’s most recent lobbying work in our News section. 

The UK is currently 11th out of 15 comparable European nations for activity levels Credit: / Dusan Petkovic
ukactive: news from and
Improving physical strength and fitness, mental health and confidence are the main reasons for joining a health club, while cost, time and motivation are the main reasons for leaving.
UK Active has announced details of its annual health and fitness industry awards ceremony, which will take place in Birmingham on the evening of Thursday 3 October at the International Convention Centre.
The first annual Private Sector Benchmarking report was released today (27 March). A collaboration between UK Active and 4Global, the aim of the research is to provide accurate insight into the state of UK-based private sector health clubs.
In a soft power exercise, politicians in the UK have been invited to take part in a challenge which encourages them to be more active, while raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity.
Mike Farrar, chair of UK Active, has called on the UK government to deploy the physical activity sector to support the NHS and tackle the UK’s pandemic of poor health and sluggish economy.
ukactive: featured in Sports Management, HCM and Fit Tech magazines
Life lessons: Huw Edwards
Remember when there was mass hostility about London hosting the 2012 Olympics? Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, was there. He talks to Kath Hudson about the lessons he learned
Consumer expectations are rising all the time, but nowhere more than in relation to digital. UK Active’s Dave Gerrish explains how the industry is shaping up
Kath Hudson talks to industry experts from around the world about their key takeaways from last year and their hopes for 2024
Industry insights: Predictions
Time are tough but tough times bring out the best in us. Kath Hudson asks some of the world’s top industry experts where they see the glimpses of blue sky
Life lessons: Dave Courteen
The author, industry veteran, UK Active board member and founder and CEO of Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs talks to Kath Hudson about the challenges of operating a high-end club when low-cost came on the scene
Interview: Mike Farrar
Harnessing the healthcare network to further the fitness sector’s ambitions is the core purpose of UK Active’s new chair, as he explains to Kate Cracknell
Tel: 020 8158 9700
Address: The Bloomsbury Building, 10 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2SL, United Kingdom
Huw Edwards, CEO
ukactive video gallery:
Key personnel
Mike Farrar, Chair
Huw Edwards, CEO
Steven Scales, Director of Membership and Sector Development
Jack Shakespeare, Director of Research, Policy and Communications
Key customers
Gyms, health clubs, leisure centres, fitness studios, swimming pools, sports bodies, activity providers, equipment suppliers, technology suppliers, health bodies, education bodies, health charities, consumer fitness brands