More Europeans had gym memberships during 2021 – but the cost-of-living pressures are now quickly stacking up

How has your relationship been with your local gym or fitness club lately? If your circumstances over the past few years have been anything like a lot of people’s, the chances are that it might have been a very up-and-down relationship in that period, with little sign of the situation stabilising. 

This much has been illustrated by a number of fitness-related stories that we have seen pop in the news lately. 

On one hand, research has emerged suggesting a sizeable jump in the numbers of people across Europe who had a gym membership last year. But on the other hand, anecdotal reports have also been filtering through of people increasingly questioning whether they can even still afford to go to the gym in 2022. 

A contrasting set of stories that spells out very real challenges 

Firstly, let’s focus on the recent good news about brick-and-mortar fitness facilities on the continent. A new report compiled by Deloitte has stated that the number of people in Europe who had a gym membership went up by one million during 2021. 

What’s more, there was a 0.2% increase in the total number of fitness clubs last year, despite club operators losing more than 40% of their operational days in 2021. Overall, the report stated, gym membership numbers in Europe saw a 2% rise, from 55.2 million in 2020 to 56.3 million by the end of 2021. 

But can as many people even afford to go to the gym in 2022? 

The bounce-back in gym memberships in Europe last year perhaps isn’t massively surprising, given the extreme pressures exerted on the health and fitness sector in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold in Europe. 

Looking to this year, though, much of the conversation has been less on Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, and more on how people are facing up to escalating living costs. This, in turn – it sadly seems – is posing serious challenges to the ability of a lot of us to even foot the bill for gym memberships and other exercise commitments. 

A recent Stylist article documented this phenomenon, referencing one woman – Jemima Cooper – who tweeted that she was “feeling quite concerned and stressed at the moment with the massive rise in the cost of living – already having to make choices between putting the heating on vs being able to live a healthy lifestyle”. 

Another woman quoted in the story – 24-year-old Leanne in Kent – said that the gym had been her “happy place”, but that cost pressures had now forced her to give up her gym membership. 

Sadly, it looks like stories like the above will continue to emerge as the challenges mount for people up and down the UK who are trying to keep fit and well, at the same time as paying their essential bills. 

Here at Hybryd, we will continue to try to do our bit through our provision of stylish, durable and functional fitness apparel that helps to keep an exercise routine an affordable endeavour for as many people as possible. We are also continuing to offer free UK delivery on all orders, to further assist our customers at this testing time. 

Who knows – by browsing our store today, you, too, may discover some new well-made (and well-priced) favourites from across our range of vests, T-shirts, joggers, socks, bags, and so much more?