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Facing a mental health challenge and can’t catch a break? New research from ukactive indicates that 78% of gym goers report better mental health, with up to two-thirds reporting better sleep.
The study also found that more than half of the people who have joined a gym in the UK have done so to tackle an illness and feel that gym memberships were important in helping them manage a short or long-term health condition.
An estimated 10.3 million people in the UK belong to a gym, with early January usually seeing a surge in people joining.
“It’s reassuring to see people getting such crucial benefits from physical activity, and more are now seeing fitness and leisure facilities as places in the community that can help them look after their health and wellbeing,” comments Huw Edwards, ukactive’s chief executive.
Edwards revealed a shocking 2.6 million Britons are currently unable to work as they were struggling with an illness and urged ministers to do more to support the fitness industry.
He asked employers to offer staff gym memberships and called for an overhaul of the value-added tax to incentivise gym memberships.
People with the poorest mental health conditions often have the least access to physical activities, shares Andy Bell, the chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health thinktank.
“Physical activity has been shown to benefit our mental health. And people living with a long-term physical health condition are twice as likely to have a mental health difficulty, Bell adds.
UK’s National Health Service (NHS) director, Matthew Fagg, urged UK citizens to continue to be more active and strive towards achieving a healthy weight.
“Becoming more active and achieving a healthy weight is known to provide long-term benefits to people and their communities,” Fagg said, responding to the findings.
He adds that the NHS uses physical activity as a key element in its programmes to help diabetics, smokers and overweight individuals to address their illnesses.
Older people, while being more at risk of high cholesterol and musculoskeletal problems, are often not the target group of gym advertisements that may benefit from the marketing.
Leisure industry analyst David Minton believes that the new year presents great opportunities for marketers to be able to convert this cohort into adopting a more active lifestyle.
“In January, many new people will find a sense of purpose while improving their healthy
mobility. The sector needs to convert these members and customers into fans and ambassadors by helping them achieve a more active lifestyle.”
He believes a fresh approach in language and marketing is needed so that physical activity can capture a wider audience.