Britons are heading back to the gym in big numbers as they look to get back into shape after the lockdowns of the past year and seek out the extra space to exercise away from home.
The Gym Group has said its membership numbers increased by one-third to 730,000 in the four months to the end of June, as 183,000 new recruits made a beeline for its treadmills and weight benches. The clamour means the company now plans to open 40 more gyms, in a push that could include a move into empty shops.
The upbeat figures sent the Gym Group’s shares up 8%. Its chief executive, Richard Darwin, said the company was experiencing a rapid recovery in its membership numbers. The 730,000 figure compares with a peak membership of 891,000 in February 2020 before the first coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced. Gym Group expects to gain more members when students return to university campuses.
Darwin said that on the back of the encouraging trend, and with members also working out more frequently, the company had “identified some exciting growth opportunities to expand our estate further”. It…