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The Fittest Areas In The UK To Live

woman runs past westminster

With gyms set to reopen next month, people all over the country will be looking forward to getting a sweat on and returning to their usual fitness routines.

But with gyms and other indoor fitness and leisure facilities forced to close for almost a year, how did the nation keep fit and what areas were the most likely to have stayed in shape?

To find out, MoneySupermaket analysed Google search data to find where in the UK has the highest number of fitness-related searches per 1,000 people as well as the workouts and fitness activities that saw the biggest uplift in search interest compared to the previous year.

Top 50 fittest areas

(average monthly fitness searches per 1,000)

AreaRegionPopulationAverage Monthly VolumePer 1000 people
BristolSouth West463400157,101339.0
LiverpoolNorth West498042138,696278.5
BathSouth West8885924,734278.4
BirkenheadNorth West8881824,620277.2
ReadingSouth East16178042,677263.8
WarringtonNorth West21001451,689246.1
BournemouthSouth West18750345,557243.0
ChesterNorth West11820026,267222.2
ShrewsburyWest Midlands7171515,690218.8
OxfordSouth East15245731,645207.6
WorcesterWest Midlands10122220,730204.8
CrawleySouth East11240922,978204.4
ExeterSouth West13140526,499201.7
HuddersfieldYorkshire and the Humber16294932,599200.1
Sutton ColdfieldWest Midlands9510718,941199.2
Newcastle upon TyneNorth East30282060,091198.4
SouthportNorth West9170316,979185.2
LincolnEast Midlands9929918,157182.9
East KilbrideScotland7539013,748182.4
WorthingSouth East11057019,908180.0
NuneatonWest Midlands8655215,514179.2
MansfieldEast Midlands10931319,373177.2
LondonderryNorthern Ireland10787718,873174.9
PortsmouthSouth East21490537,194173.1
CheltenhamSouth West11630619,888171.0
DarlingtonNorth East10680318,213170.5
PlymouthSouth West26210044,438169.5
BasingstokeSouth East11377619,231169.0
HalifaxYorkshire and the Humber8813414,856168.6
ManchesterNorth West55285892,584167.5
Hemel HempsteadEast9750016,258166.7
Kingston upon HullYorkshire and the Humber25977843,226166.4
RedditchWest Midlands8526114,129165.7
BelfastNorthern Ireland34354256,837165.4
EastbourneSouth East10374517,126165.1
BuryNorth West19099031,203163.4
BlackpoolNorth West13944622,598162.1

With an average of 339 exercise-related searches per 1,000 people per month, Bristol tops the list of the UK’s fitness hotspots.

With a number of green spaces within the city itself, Bristolians can also take advantage of the surrounding countryside to keep fit through outdoor activities such as mountain biking, trail running, hiking and wild swimming.

The study also revealed that wild swimming is the UK’s biggest fitness fad, with related searches such as “Open Water Swimming Near Me”, “Wild Swimming Clubs”, and “Best Places for Wild Swimming” increasing by almost 240% year-on-year.

Top 10 fitness trends

(% increase)

  1. Wild Swimming – 243.8%
  2. Home Workout – 234.6%
  3. Spin – 230.3%
  4. Hiking – 207.7%
  5. Yoga – 176.7%
  6. Kettlebells – 140.9%
  7. HIIT – 95.5%
  8. Running – 87.8%
  9. Virtual Classes – 70.6%
  10. Cycling – 59.8%

Without access to public swimming pools, searches around wild (or open water) swimming exploded over the last 12 months.

While taking a dip in a pond, lake, or the sea might not be everyone’s cup of tea, people missing their regular swim have been braving the cold in droves.

Wild swimmers also tout additional benefits of the cold-water including its ability to help manage conditions like migraines and arthritis.

As part of the study, we also analysed where each trend was searched for the most to find the UK’s workout capitals.

Embracing the trend, people in Southport were the most likely in the country to dip their toe in wild swimming, while people living in Cambridge turned to yoga in order to keep fit and manage the mental stresses of lockdown.

Workout capitals

(Where popular exercise activities were searched for the most)

  1. Cycling – Liverpool
  2. Running – Glasgow
  3. Yoga – Cambridge
  4. Hiking – Reading
  5. Kettlebells – Bournemouth
  6. Home Workout/Home Gym – Bristol
  7. Wild Swimming – Southport
  8. HIIT – Watford
  9. Spin – Worcester
  10. Virtual Classes/Trainer – Lincoln