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One of UK’s biggest gym chains ‘lost one in five members’ during lockdown

One of Britain’s largest gym chains says 178,000 people cancelled their membership during lockdown.

On 18 March, The Gym Group had 870,000 members across its 179 sites nationwide.

But gyms were among the many businesses forced to close days later under government rules aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

The Gym Group, like many others, froze the payments of its members – but it announced on Thursday that its membership now stood at 692,000, with an average age of 32.

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In a trading update, the group said: “In the first few days after closing there were a significant number of cancellations, but this rate subsequently slowed considerably.”

It comes as gyms in England prepare to reopen later this month in the latest easing of lockdown rules, with gyms in Northern Ireland already open again.

Gym Group chief executive Richard Darwin said: “We are in the process of un-furloughing our colleagues, who will be ready to open the doors of our gyms in England on 25 July and in the other home nations once restrictions are lifted.

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“We are encouraged by the response of our members, the vast majority of whom are keen to get back to the gym to begin working out again.

“We look forward to welcoming them back and being able to continue providing affordable fitness for all.”

According to The Gym Group’s own research, 92% of members are keen to go to the gym again.

Mr Darwin said: “Opening safely is our primary concern and we have comprehensive plans in place for both our colleagues and members as we reopen our gyms.

“We are pleased to have been able to work with government and the rest of the health and fitness sector on how best to operate in a COVID-secure way.

“Together with the government we recognise the significant benefits of exercise in improving the nation’s physical and mental well-being, particularly at this time as we respond to the pandemic.”

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