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)
|Area||Region||Population||Average Monthly Volume||Per 1000 people|
|Huddersfield||Yorkshire and the Humber||162949||32,599||200.1|
|Sutton Coldfield||West Midlands||95107||18,941||199.2|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||North East||302820||60,091||198.4|
|Halifax||Yorkshire and the Humber||88134||14,856||168.6|
|Kingston upon Hull||Yorkshire and the Humber||259778||43,226||166.4|
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
- Wild Swimming – 243.8%
- Home Workout – 234.6%
- Spin – 230.3%
- Hiking – 207.7%
- Yoga – 176.7%
- Kettlebells – 140.9%
- HIIT – 95.5%
- Running – 87.8%
- Virtual Classes – 70.6%
- 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.
(Where popular exercise activities were searched for the most)
- Cycling – Liverpool
- Running – Glasgow
- Yoga – Cambridge
- Hiking – Reading
- Kettlebells – Bournemouth
- Home Workout/Home Gym – Bristol
- Wild Swimming – Southport
- HIIT – Watford
- Spin – Worcester
- Virtual Classes/Trainer – Lincoln