The National Fitness Day campaign for 2023 reached a total audience of 88.5 million people, helping to inspire healthier lives across the UK and beyond.
Powered by ukactive’s members and partners, National Fitness Day 2023 took place on Wednesday 20 September, under the theme ‘Your Health is for Life’, with free activities hosted by gyms, swimming pools, leisure centres, sports clubs, studios, schools, workplaces, and online providers.
Results published today (3 November) by ukactive and reviewed by Savanta* show that in the UK, an estimated 10.2 million people** were directly motivated to participate in an activity on the day itself, while many more were encouraged to be active throughout the campaign by further events and communications.
The global media reach of the campaign, measured by Vuelio, shows an audience of 57.2 million – up from 48.7 million in 2022 – following extensive press coverage.
Among hundreds of examples of national and regional stories, the BBC’s Sports Editor, Dan Roan, explored the UK’s physical inactivity crisis, and the Daily Mail’s Science Editor, Victoria Allen, reported on ukactive’s polling which showed mental health, for the first time, as the biggest motivation for Brits to exercise.
Social media plays a major role in driving the campaign, and this year saw a total global reach of 31.3 million people engaged across the major platforms.
People of all ages and abilities were inspired to share their personal experiences and health stories on Instagram, X and Facebook, as well as celebrities such as Joe Wicks and Carol Vorderman, who also showed their love and support for the day.
The campaign was elevated by three major new partners for National Fitness Day: men’s mental health charity, Movember, sports reward platform, Endurance Zone, and sports nutrition business, Optimum Nutrition.
Each partner brought unique expertise and helped to drive important messaging around the benefits of physical activity as part of a healthier, happier life – from sleep and nutrition to exercise routines and social connections.
This year also saw the launch of the first Fitness Day Rewards app, delivered by Endurance Zone, which offers prizes and discounts as incentives for being more active. The app can still be downloaded for both Apple and Android users until February 2024.
The campaign culminated with thousands of activities being held across the UK on 20 September, beginning with the National Fitness Day kick-off event, which for the first time was held in Manchester, hosted by GM Active in partnership with ukactive.
The event saw participants from the Prehab4Cancer programme join a morning of group workouts at Salford Sports Village and share their own stories, providing a powerful example of the essential benefits of physical activity and underlining the campaign’s theme, ‘Your Health is for Life’.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “It’s clear National Fitness Day is a much-loved campaign which helps inspire people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to try something new, start their health journey, or simply recapture the joy of movement.
“Huge credit should go to our campaign partners, our sector partners and most importantly, all of ukactive’s members that celebrated the campaign and hosted free events and activities to support more people to be active.
“As well as the fun it brought, National Fitness Day 2023 carried a serious message that your health is for life, and we will continue to champion the importance of physical activity for our nation’s health and wellbeing.”
David Birch, CEO and Founder of Endurance Zone, said: “We are thrilled to have played our part in National Fitness Day with the resounding success of the Fitness Day Rewards app. Many thousands of exercise minutes have been tracked so far, with over 80% of users who connected a fitness a tracker earning points, redeeming rewards, and entering competitions.
“The entire team at Endurance Zone is delighted to have helped motivate so many individuals to exercise nationwide.”
Laura Hoggins, from Optimum Nutrition, said: “National Fitness Day is always a great way to build awareness and excitement around exercise and movement, and we are proud to support ukactive on this important initiative to get more people moving, more often.
“We believe nutrition plays an essential role in the health and wellness of our communities, and we were proud to have our Optimum Nutrition coaches involved, to give tips and education on how to fuel and recover for your goals.”
Tess Kennedy, Partnerships Manager – New Business at Movember, said: “Here at Movember, National Fitness Day was the ideal day to get the message across to our core community that it’s important to look after your health, both physically and mentally. Working with ukactive meant we were able to shine a light on how looking after yourself can be both hugely rewarding and fun.”
*Savanta surveyed 2,044 adults aged 18+ between 22 September and 24 September 2023. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of UK adults aged 18+ by key demographics including age, gender, region and socio-economic grade. Savanta is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at http://www.savanta.com/
**Extrapolated data from the Savanta polling shows 10,150,420 people participated in an event or activity on National Fitness Day 2023. This compares to approximately 11.67 million people 2022.
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