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Gym workouts are the number one method of physical activity that people are looking forward to once the COVID-19 lockdown eases in the UK, new polling from Sport England and Savanta ComRes shows.

The poll, which questioned more than 2,000 people, shows that the British public misses gym work more than any other activity (14%), highlighting the role that the nation’s gyms and leisure centres play in our society.

In addition, 87% of gym members told Savanta ComRes they are likely to resume their membership when facilities reopen and 27% of people who are not currently members of gyms said they are likely to join.

Sport England has been conducting weekly polling across the population to show how habits and views of physical activity have been affected by social distancing restrictions put in place by the Government as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Following the Government’s publication of its reopening strategy, ukactive is in discussions with the Government and its health agencies on the requirements for reopening facilities safely for both its workforce and customers, while also ensuring financial support remains once the sector does reopen.

While gyms and leisure centres await news of their place within the reopening timeline, the new poll shows their popularity among the public.

Thinking about any sport, exercise or physical activity you have not been able to do during lockdown, what, if anything, are you most looking forward to resuming once the restrictions are lifted?

Gym work in general 14%
Swimming 13%
Walking in general 13%
Football 5%
Jogging / running 4%
Cycling 2%
Golf 2%

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The new polling results from Sport England show that many people are really looking forward to returning to their gyms and leisure centres once restrictions are lifted.

“People are missing the gym because it plays such an important part in their lives, helping them to stay mentally and physically healthy in a way that they choose.

“We know people want to come back into our facilities and that is why we are determined to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness and safety in gyms and leisure centres when they do reopen.

“Our sector has 7,000 facilities and 400,000 staff ready to play a crucial preventive role against coronavirus, as well as a rehabilitative role in the treatment of those who have been infected.

“ukactive is working with the Government to show how gyms and leisure facilities can reopen safely, using our new framework to ensure social distancing during workouts and additional cleaning measures that allow people to enjoy these places again.”

The new poll also found that many people who have discovered fitness workouts during lockdown intend to continue these habits once the restrictions are lifted, showing a new demand for fitness services in our communities.

Seven per cent of respondents said they would like to continue the workouts they have started in lockdown – demonstrating the reach of fitness activities, irrespective of background.

Thinking about any sport, exercise or physical activity you have done during lockdown, what new experiences, habits or activities, if any, have you found that you would like to continue once the restrictions are lifted?

Walking in general 19%
Jogging / running 8%
Exercise / workouts / fitness 7%
Cycling 6%
Yoga 3%
Online workouts 3%
Gardening 2%
Football 2%

 The full results are available to view here.