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Future Fit Traning
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Exercise Statistics: What are the most common physical activities and why

Did you know that 1 in 6 deaths in the UK is associated with a lack of exercise or physical activity?

Yes, this is true.

Despite this daunting statistic and the numerous proven benefits of exercise, the UK population is still very inactive and is projected to worsen in 2030.

Approximately 1 in 3 men and 1 in 2 women do not exercise enough for good health. Additionally, people tend to be less active as they age, resulting in more avoidable illnesses.

However, a high percentage of the UK population is still physically active (over 60%). They enjoy all kinds of exercises, from yoga to Pilates, HIIT, Zumba, and others.

Do you want to learn more about physically active people and the most common exercises in the UK?

If yes, keep reading.

This article will provide you with all the UK exercise statistics you need to understand why fitness is still relevant in 2023.

But before we get to it, let’s discuss the most common exercises in the UK.

What are the Most Common Physical Activities in the UK?

There are different types of exercises, each of which has its variations, but some are more favoured than others. Highlighted below are some of the most common ones in the UK, using survey reports from EMB UK and search data from

  1. Group Exercise

EMD UK survey estimates that over 4 million people in just England participate in group exercise classes, and technology has a hand to play in the predominance of these exercises. Numerous fitness companies, like Peloton, have made it easier for people to participate in group classes from the comfort of their homes.

Group exercises are also accessible and adaptable – this way, no one is left out. Plus, the fact that individuals belong to a community that shares a common fitness goal with others is an added reason for its prevalence. Let’s take a look at some popular group exercises.

  • Yoga – The global yoga market is worth over £70 billion, and the term ‘yoga’ is one of the most searched terms on Google.
  • CrossFit – there are more than 10,000 CrossFit-affiliated gyms in the world, and the company behind this exercise bring in a revenue of over $100 million,
  • Spinning – Spin classes or indoor cycling has become one of the most popular group exercises, and the static bikes and the upbeat atmosphere of most spin classes are a few reasons.
  • Pilates – With more celebrities doing Pilates, it is no surprise that this once female-branded exercise has become popular.
  1. Running

Running is the most common form of exercise. Statistics from Statista show that approximately 6 million people in England run regularly.

  1. Bench Press

There are over 30,000 average monthly searches on bench presses, or chest presses as they are fondly called. This exercise is common because it is effective, and there are multiple variations to match different fitness levels.

  1. Romanian deadlifts

This is another exercise that is currently popular – it averages 29,000 searches in a month. Many people in the UK like this exercise because of its different benefits – it increases hip mobility and tones the glutes.

  1. Lateral Pulldowns

Lateral Pulldowns are a common exercise for many fitness enthusiasts who work out in the gym. It is a very adaptable form of exercise, as it has multiple variations. Besides, this exercise has 18,000 average searches in a month.

  1. Squats

Squats are very popular because of the diverse nature of the exercise. There are multiple squat variations, and no machine is needed. People in the UK love this exercise because it can be done from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, squats have an average of 15,000 searches per month.

Now that we’ve discussed the common exercises in the UK, let’s look at some statistics, shall we?

General Physical Activity Statistics

  • Swimming is the most popular exercise for 5 to 10 years old children.
  • Children between the ages of 10 and 15 rank football as their first exercise choice.
  • Over 60% of people over 16 in England are physically active.
  • There are over 7 thousand fitness clubs in the UK.
  • According to the Active Lives Adult Survey, over 25 adults were inactive, and 11.5% were pretty active but did not reach the required 150 minutes per week.
  • Over one million adults in the UK have become inactive since the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Walking for leisure is one exercise that continued to increase after the pandemic.
  • Over 40% of children and young people are active.
  • More than 2% and 15% of adults cycle and walk for travel at least thrice a week simultaneously.
  • Over 30% of people in the UK have never played a sport or exercised before.
  • 17% of UK residents (over 10 million people) are members of a fitness centre or own a gym membership.
  • About 56% of UK adults exercise regularly compared to Germany (77%). Spain (65%) and France (63%).
  • The average fitness enthusiast in the UK trains more than two times per week.
  • 40% of physical activity occurs outdoors, and 32% happens at home.

Demographic Exercise Statistics.

  • People from a mixed ethnic background are over 60% more likely to be physically active than others.
  • Over 60% of men and 55% of women in the UK are physically active.
  • White British and Asian men tend to partake in exercise more than women.
  • Over 70% of mixed British men are more likely to be more physically active than other ethnic groups.
  • White British men make up the higher percentage (64.75) of people that exercise in the UK.
  • Asian men and men from other ethnic groups are less likely to exercise, with 53.6% and 5o2%, respectively.
  • Individuals between the ages of 19 and 24 are considered to be the most active group (approximately 70%), followed by 75 -84 years (53%) and over 85 years (31%).
  • London, Wandsworth, York, Wokingham, East Somerset, Islington, Bath & North, Brighton & Hove, and Richmond upon Thames have over 75%, active adults.
  • 42% of children and young people were physically active in the West Midlands in 2021.
  • Children in years 1 to 2 are more likely to be active (over 50%) compared to those in years 3 to 6 (42%) and years 7 to 11 (over 43%).
  • The North East had over 45% of active young people and children in 2021.
  • White British people between the ages of 26 to 24 are more physically active (72%) than those over 75 (39.6%).
  • The South West and South East have the highest percentage of active people – 65.3% and 64.5%, respectively.
  • Full-time students and people with professional occupations had the highest rate of physical activity – 64% and 71%, respectively, compared to unemployed individuals (46.8%).

Exercise Industry Statistics

  • The fitness industry market value is down by over 4% — reaching the same level as in 2018.
  • Fitness memberships dropped to 9.9 million in 2022 from 10.4 million in 2019.
  • More than 600 fitness clubs have closed since 2019, and 455 new ones have opened – 7,063 in 2022 from 7,239 in 2019.
  • Most UK gyms get over £100,000 in turnover.
  • The fitness industry in the UK makes a revenue of over $6 billion and an annual turnover of £2 billion.


What are the most common exercises in the UK?

Running, Yoga, Pilates, Bench press, indoor cycling, squatting, and lateral pulldowns are some of the most common exercises in the UK.

What Percentage of UK residents go to the gym?

There are more than 7,000 health and fitness clubs in the UK. While over 24% of UK residents have gym memberships, a large percentage of this number doesn’t go to the gym.

How many times does the average person in the UK exercise?

Over 20% of UK residents exercise for at least 30 minutes on numerous occasions, with 8% doing it daily.

How much exercise is recommended by the UK government?

The UK government recommends that people do at least 150 minutes of mild-intensity exercise every week or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise, spread evenly over 5 or 4 days a week. The government also mentions that adults should aspire to be active every day.

What percentage of people in the UK do not exercise?

One in 3 men and one in 2 women do not exercise in the UK, and over 20% of adults in the UK are physically inactive.

Which Age group exercises the most in the UK?

According to the Independent, people over 65 exercise the most and are more willing to spend money on expensive gym memberships. The government also reports that over 60% of people over 16 are physically active.