Three-quarters of people who work out in the gym have experienced significant improvements to their mental health, latest research indicates.

A new survey has found that roughly half of individuals join a gym in a bid to tackle or prevent an illness.

Commissioned by ukacitve, the poll has revealed that 55% of people go to the gym purely to manage a health condition.

In addition, the study has discovered that 78% of gym users have seen an improvement to their emotional wellbeing and 66% have slept better since exercising more regularly.

Huw Edwards, Chief Executive of ukactive, said: “It’s clear that more people are seeing the true value of being active and its role in leading a fulfilling life.

“It’s reassuring to see people getting such crucial benefits from physical activity and more are now seeing fitness and leisure facilities as places in the community that can really help them look after their health and wellbeing.”

Thousands of Brits have joined a gym or leisure centre this month due to many people pledging to get fitter as part of their new year resolutions.

Fitness data shows that more than 10 million people in the UK currently have a gym membership.

Matthew Fagg, Director for Prevention and Long-term Conditions at NHS England, said: “Becoming more active and achieving a healthy weight is known to provide long-term benefits to people and their communities.”

Physical activity is often recommended by the NHS to individuals living with diabetes, people trying to quit smoking and those looking to lose weight.

The ukactive chief executive is calling the Government to offer more support to the fitness industry.

With a record 2.6 million people currently on long-term sickness leave, Edwards believes that gym memberships or home fitness equipment should be offered to staff by their employers, who can then claim the costs back against tax.

He is also urging ministers to consider reforming business rates to encourage more fitness facilities to open.

Andy Bell, Chief Executive of the Centre for Mental Health thinktank, said: “Physical activity has been shown to benefit our mental health. And people living with a long-term physical health condition are twice as likely to have a mental health difficulty.

“But access to leisure facilities and green spaces isn’t equal, and people with the poorest mental health often have the least access to opportunities for physical activity.”

David Minton, Leisure Industry Analyst, continued: “Gyms are doing too little to attract more people not aged between 16 and 34, who are the group most likely to be a member. They should also target older people with high cholesterol or musculoskeletal problems.

“As a species we are very poor at adopting simple behaviours that are proven to improve our health mobility.”

He added: “The fitness industry needs to adopt a fresh approach to both language and marketing to attract a wider audience.

“In January many new people will find a sense of purpose whilst improving their healthy mobility.

“The sector needs to convert these members and customers into fans and ambassadors by helping them achieve a more active lifestyle.”

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