cent of women visit fitness facilities for group exercise, the percentage for men is only 14. Women make up 74 per cent of group exercise participants in total. This is all essential information when considering scheduling activities for different demographics.” Like last year, younger age groups make up

more of the membership base than they do of the total national population, meaning older age groups are underrepresented – two per cent of members are over 75, yet they currently make up 10 per cent of UK population. The report flags swimming as the activity of choice for the elderly (it makes up 39 per cent of facility visits for people aged 75+) yet it’s much less popular among younger generations – it tallies just eight per cent for those aged 16 to 24. Nearly two thirds of casual visits to leisure centres are for swimming. Broughton says: “This should be an important area of focus for our sector – with active ageing becoming a bigger priority for the nation as our elderly population grows. The industry needs to be ready to meet the growing demand and needs of older customers.” In terms of sport, football is the most

popular – rising from 30 per cent of non-core visits in 2016 to 37 per cent in 2018. For members of all ages, except 75+, the most popular sport is badminton, making up 27 per cent of visits for females, 33 per cent for males. Squash was second most popular. “This report shines a light on the key trends

influencing public leisure. Our sector now knows more about how customers interact with fitness facilities than ever before,” says Steven Ward, ukactive CEO. “For the first time we have insights

the whens, whats and hows… Since 2016, more than 147 million visits have been made to the leisure centres included in this analysis. In 2018 so far, for the third year in a row, the most popular day to work out is Tuesday, with 16 per cent of visits taking place on this day. The least popular is Sunday (12 per cent). “Members are opting to make the bulk of visits during the week. This presents significant opportunities to increase capacity, particularly through more family-friendly activity offerings,” says Lizzie Broughton, senior insight manager at ukactive. Mornings are by far consumers’ favourite

time to work out, with 10am coming out top. “Operators know age plays a role in when consumers visit and have taken great strides to adjust their offerings accordingly. Moving Communities gives even greater insight to inform these adjustments,” says Phillips. “Early evening is the most popular time for 33 per cent of the


Swimming accounts for nearly two thirds of casual visits to leisure centres

25-34 age bracket. Only three per cent of over 75s come at this time, yet almost half (47 per cent) attend late morning. Females are more likely to visit in the late morning than males and casual users are most likely to visit at weekends. Group workouts overall are far more popular with women than men – while 38 per

including an analysis of who is visiting facilities, when, and what they are doing. Armed with this knowledge, operators are at last able to tailor their fitness offerings to meet the actual wants and needs of their customers.”

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