UK Fitness Industry Trends To Watch In 2022

The United Kingdom is expected to bounce back from its decline during the global pandemic lockdowns from 2020 to 2021. In fact, it is expected to grow by 32.5% in 2022 alone. The industry’s rosy recovery is attributed to people’s heightened health consciousness and the government’s initiatives to encourage more physical activity to combat lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity. According to an IBISWorld market research report, competition is expected to increase, with low-cost and luxury gyms replacing mid-market facilities. Technologically connected exercise equipment, along with hybrid approaches, are expected to grow in the coming years, too.

Global Fitness Industry Trends

Worldwide, according to the ACSM Health and Fitness Journal, there are 43 possible trends for 2022, with 25 of them from the top trends of the previous years, and the rest as new, emerging trends. The top 20 trends from the 43 possible trends are, in order: wearable technology, home exercise gyms, outdoor activities, strength training with free weights, exercise for weight loss, personal training, high-intensity interval training, bodyweight training, online live and on-demand exercise classes, health and wellness coaching, fitness programs for older adults, an “exercise is medicine” mindset, employing certified fitness professionals, functional fitness training, yoga, mobile exercise apps, online personal training, licensure for fitness professionals, lifestyle medicine, and group exercise training.

Fitness Trends’ Implication 

The U.K.’s gym and fitness industry is currently valued at two billion English pounds ($2.6 billion), involving 7,075 businesses, and employing 32,681 people. In the US, it’s valued at $35 billion, involving 109, 972 businesses, and employing 798, 967 people. Globally, the gym industry alone is estimated at $96.7 billion in 2020, with around 200,000 gyms worldwide, and 185 million gym members. The U.S., Germany, and the U.K. are the top three countries with the highest number of gym memberships. With so many people directly involved, it also gives rise to the need for comprehensive fitness workers comp insurance, with the U.K., the U.S., and global gym and fitness industries rebounding in 2022 and beyond.

Fitness Trends From a Global Retailer’s Perspective

Meanwhile, global e-commerce giant Shopify spoke to experts in the industry and identified the top eight trends  to expect in 2022: wearable technology, home gyms and equipment, flexercise, live and on-demand classes and virtual personal training, community as an indispensable component of fitness and mental health, mobile fitness apps and gamified workouts, the “fitness is for everyone” message and the rise to the celebrity status of fitness creators and personal brands. Shopify particularly highlights the emergence of flexercise, which is basically moving one’s body whenever and however, making fitness more accessible and convenient. This means 10-minute low-impact workouts, stretching, and nature walks, giving rise to the “fitness for everyone” zeitgeist.

Given these fitness industry trends, the broader implication points to both the challenge and opportunity of using technological innovations for self-guided fitness and incorporating the community, camaraderie and friendly competition atmospheres of in real life (IRL) spaces. Gone are the days of purely in-person gym workout sessions, with fitness enthusiasts taking advantage of technology for more customized exercise plans. However, people also crave social interaction and community, so the health and fitness companies and apps that can meet this need even with virtual workout sessions will lead the way into the future.

Written by Sam Hyme

I have over 13 years experience in the sports industry. I specialise in analytical frameworks for sports performance.

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