Gym Attendance Soars to Pre-Pandemic Levels

woman exercising at a gym

IMAGE - Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

THE gym has become one of Spain’s leading pastimes between work and home life, and the fitness industry has recovered pre-pandemic market share. However, Spain remains out of the Top 10 countries with the highest gym attendance rates, with the Nordic countries leading the fitness trend.

The 5th Eurobarometer of Sport and Physical Activity, issued by EuropeActive and published by the European Commission places the attendance rate of Spanish gyms at 13 per cent as of April 2023. After years stagnating at 10 per cent, Spanish fitness has increased its market share by three percentage points.

The pandemic dealt a severe blow to the gym industry in 2020, and only 9.1 per cent of the population said they were going to the gym. However, the pandemic did also cause the number of people who did sports, outdoors and at home, to increase, creating a pattern of behaviour that contributed to the arrival of new and young gym goers to sign up for gyms once lockdown restrictions were lifted.

A new survey that will be carried out in September and October 2023 will possibly indicate an increase on the current figure of 13 per cent of the Spanish population.

The global leader for gym attendance is Sweden, although the country has suffered a drop of 6 percentage points from 2017 figures. Sweden is followed by the Netherlands, where gyms have increased their market share by seven percentage points to 29 per cent. In third place is Denmark, which has experienced an uptick in gym memberships, with a rate of 26 per cent.

69 per cent of Europeans do not go to the gym, the figure in Spain is 75 per cent of the population, though 28 per cent of this figure exercise outside sports facilities, such as cycling and running. Around eight out of 10 Spaniards choose walking as their preferred type of exercise.

The importance of fitness and physical health, whether exercising at home or a sports facility, has grown in recent years, and growth is forecasted to continue.

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Written by

Lisa Zeffertt

Lisa is British, born in Hong Kong and has lived in many countries including the UK, Hong Kong, Cyprus, and Thailand, Spain has been her home for the past 10 years. After graduating with a BA in English Literature and Art History, she has worked in different sectors, most recently as a ghostwriter and translator for six years Writing is one of her passions, as well as working in both Spanish (fluent) and English.