With the London Marathon just days away, new research from Mintel finds London takes the top spot in terms of jogging participation in the UK. Today, as many as one in three (34%) Londoners take part in running, closely followed by the North East at 33%.

Around the nation, Wales records higher than average participation rates at 27%, while the West Midlands records average interest at 24% followed by the South West at 23%. Those areas with lower than average participation rates include the South East and East Anglia at 22%, East Midlands at 20% and Scotland and Yorkshire and Humberside at 19%.

While a quarter (24%) of Brits jog, this exercise is slightly more popular among men (26%) than women (22%) and in terms of age, participation peaks among those aged 16 to 24, with 48% of this group running.

Walking leads the way in terms of individual fitness participation

David Walmsley, Senior Leisure Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Our research confirms that London and the North East are key areas for running and jogging, with major events like the London Marathon and Great North Run important sources of interest and inspiration. But there is also a strong and growing strand of informal activity supporting participation rates, with events like parkrun and the establishment of running groups helping people get started and keep improving.”

While one in four (24%) Brits are runners, it is walking which leads the way in terms of individual fitness participation, with four in ten (39%) Brits walking for fitness. Walking is particularly popular with women (44%), while just over a third (35%) of men walk for fitness

The top three in-home and individual fitness activities for Brits are – 1. Walking (39%), 2. Swimming (27%) and 3. Running and jogging (24%).

Overall, almost seven in ten (67%) Brits have taken part in some kind of in-home and individual fitness activity in the past 12 months. On the whole, fitness activity participants are strongly committed, the majority of those taking part in all activities bar swimming doing so at least once a week.

“Ease of access to participation opportunities is key to enabling regular activity, which is why individual ‘doorstep’ sports are most popular at the highest frequencies of play. Walking is obviously at a significant advantage over swimming in these terms but it also has another edge in being more accessible physically than most other sports too, in that you don’t have to be especially fit to be able to take part.” David continues.

The market for In-home and Individual fitness is worth a healthy £1.2 billion, sales having increased an impressive 28% in the past five years, up from £932 million in 2009. Within the market, sales of bikes (£438 million) take the top spot, followed by running shoes at £315 million, swimming fees at £300 million, fitness equipment at £127 million and DVDs and downloads at £11 million.

“In-home and individual fitness activities are low in cost and high on convenience, a combination that makes the products and services that cater to consumers’ needs in these areas some of the UK’s most important sport and exercise markets. Affordability has been a central factor in sustaining the appeal of these activities during the economic downturn, but it is wider trends in demographics, technology and public health policy that now offer the key opportunities for longer term growth.” David concludes.

Finally, Mintel’s research found that one in six (16%) Brits would be interested in a personalised training programme with workouts and diets to follow. Around the same number (15%) are interested in fitness or exercise tips delivered by email text or app and dietary advice or healthy recipes delivered by email, text or app. Just over one in ten (12%) are potentially interested in live streams of aerobics or exercise classes to join in at home.

Press review copies of the In-home and Individual Fitness UK 2015 report and interviews with Senior Leisure Analyst, David Walmsley, are available on request from the press office.

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