The Rise of Active Leisure Time

I’ve always been active, even as a child, the phrase ‘ants in pants’ springs to mind, but recently I’ve noticed I am spoilt for choice when it comes to keeping me active. I find nothing more pleasurable than punching away life’s stresses in a Les Mills Class at the gym or enjoying a little pitch ‘n’ put at Wokingham Family Golf Centre. Now with the addition of boutique centres such as Barry’s Bootcamp and 1Rebel my ‘to do’ list and weekends are getting a whole lot busier.

Boutique classes are based on core routines such as group cycling and HIIT sessions, but with added dimensions such as a live DJ and pyrotechnics. It’s basically the perfect amalgamation of distracting flashing lights and loud music to take your mind off the pain you are putting your body through.

These facilities provide an amazing experience on every visit. It’s not just a place to improve fitness and physical appearance, its leisure time where you can socialise with friends, whilst being current and new. One of the reasons these new boutique fitness centres are so popular is social media and news of new exciting classes travels fast. Some of the £20 classes sell out within minutes of being listed online and Barry’s Bootcamp 6.40pm session regularly goes in 30 seconds!

Interestingly the majority of these boutiques don’t use memberships, instead opting for a more flexible ‘pay-as-you-go’ model; which appears to be popular with today’s savvy consumer. Consumers don’t want to tie down their leisure time, you never know when you may have to work late or the lure of a few after work drinks is just too much. We lead busy lives and it’s the flexibility and regularity of these classes that’s a great pull.

The popularity of the no contract, 24 hour and budget gym is also helping to increase how active we are in our time. Thanks to chains such as Pure Gym, EasyGym, Anytime Fitness and DW Sports, for the first time ever, member numbers have exceeded 9 million. 1 in every 7 people in the UK is a member of a gym, an all-time penetration rate high of 14.3%. Every few weeks I clock a new gym opening and even Sports Direct has nestled in on the action. Known for their budget sports clothes and equipment now the brand is moving into the increasingly popular market of budget gyms. Members are charged a one-off joining fee of £10 and then pay just £5 a month! Seems a world away from my university gym membership four years ago which set me back thirty of my precious student pounds!

It’s not just gyms that are getting us up and active, activity centres such as tree top experience Go Ape now has over 30 centres across the UK with plans to open many more in the coming months. The company seems to be going from straight to strength as they have even branched out with new active experience, Air Space Trampoline Park. I am already a huge fan of trampoline parks after visiting the recently opened Atom Park in Reading – definitely channeling my inner child.

A recent study by UCL revealed that being physically active three times a week reduces the odds of being depressed by approximately 16%! And in my unscientific, biased, and totally subjective opinion, well-spent leisure time makes life more fun especially and now there are so many ways you can do it. Activity and fitness pr has never been more fun and varied – so get out there!

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