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UK’s Most Active Cities Revealed: Brighton Is Home To The Fittest Brits

As a nation, we’re taking more steps to be active and stay in shape, whether that’s hitting the gym, taking a dip in the local pool, or just going for a run.

But which parts of the country can claim to be the UK’s most active? Future Fit Training has analysed some of the nation’s biggest towns and cities to find out, ranking each on the number of gyms, tennis courts, swimming pools, fitness-related Google searches and % of the population who are physically active, as well as looking at their internal data to see which areas have seen the most people training to become personal trainers.

Future Fit Training looked at the 30 of the most populated towns and cities in the UK and ranked them on the following six factors, giving each a normalised score out of 100 for each factor, before taking an average score out of 100 for each place. 

Taking the top spot for the most active UK city was Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, with a fitness score of 74.05 out of 100.

The city ranked number one for the number of adults who regularly take part in some form of exercise, which maybe shouldn’t be a surprise when there’s such a beautiful seafront to run or walk along.

Brighton also scored highly for its proportion of gyms and tennis courts per head, as well as the number of people searching online for terms such as ‘home workouts’ and ‘personal trainers’.

In second place was Bournemouth, another town located on the south coast, which suggests that those living by the sea might be more inclined to get out and keep active.

Bournemouth actually ranked top for two of the factors analysed: the number of gyms, and fitness-related searches per 100,000 people.

Perhaps something of a surprise entry in third, Nottingham in the East Midlands scored highly on a number of factors, but mainly on its availability of fitness amenities such as gyms, tennis courts and swimming pools, relative to the size of its population.

The top ten most active cities are as follows: 

RankTown/CityOverall Score
1Brighton and Hove74.05
2Bournemouth70.86
3Nottingham68.95
4Reading67.65
5Bristol66.30
6Norwich65.48
7Southampton60.45
8Manchester59.41
9Newcastle upon Tyne58.84
10Leeds58.26

As part of the research, Future Fit Training also surveyed 2,000 people in the UK about how they were feeling about returning to the gym, with only 36% saying they would be returning.

Commenting on these findings Ross Mitchell, Personal Training Tutor at Future Fit Training has provided his top tips for returning to the gym:

“Chances are you’re eager to get back in the gym to train, yet may still have a few concerns. You may also be surprised to know that it’s not only the COVID precautions that need consideration.

A lot will want to go full bore the second they step foot inside, this is unwise. It’s going to be easy to do too much, and the price will be injury. To prevent injury you’ll find six tips to help you reignite the training fires that have lain dormant since the end of March.

1 – Limit your working sets to 2-3 in the first few sessions (so 2-3 set of 8-12 reps, as an example)

2 – Don’t aim to have a pool of sweat collect beneath you on CV equipment

3 – Apply a good 10-15min of mobility to each session before weights/cardio

4 – Be sure to ask for help from staff if you’re unsure of something (form wise etc)

5 – Don’t be in a rush to ‘get back’ the fitness you may have lost, it will return with time/consistency

6 – Leave the gym feeling stronger than you entered it, build on this each session little by little”


You can see the survey findings in full, as well as how each UK city ranked in the full research here: https://www.futurefit.co.uk/content-hub/the-uks-most-active-cities/

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