Fitness habits of disabled Britons
May 29th, 2023, Kineree Shah

Fitness habits of disabled Britons

About a quarter of Britons have a disability of some sort (23%) and one in five of them have worked out at least once in the past month (30%), according to data from YouGov Profiles, an audience intelligence tool. This significant proportion implies that businesses within the fitness industry, such as gyms, sports equipment retailers, and fitness app developers, should ensure their offerings cater to this sizable demographic.

When breaking down the data by age, several note-worthy trends emerge. Young adults between the ages of 18-24 and 25-39 are the most active, with just over half (52% and 46%, respectively) reporting that they work out at least once a week. In contrast, older adults aged 55 and above are less active (18%). Despite this, providers would do well not to disregard this age group given that older adults often face additional health concerns. Brands could explore solutions that encourage this demographic to increase their exercise frequency, such as low-impact workouts or senior-friendly fitness programmes.

When assessing the inclination towards purchasing gym memberships, it's interesting to note that, in the short-term at least, disabled and non-disabled Britons show similar propensities. One in twenty Britons (6%) from both segments say they are likely to invest in a gym membership within the next three months. However, Britons with a disability are more likely than those without to say that they are likely to purchase a gym subscription at some further point in the future. This suggests that finding a way to bring these plans forward might be fruitful for gym operators.

So, what kind of offer is likely to cut through with this audience? Examining the promotional preferences of Britons diagnosed with a disability, two-thirds (67%) express a likelihood of participating in a promotion within the next six months. When asked about their preferred methods of participation, the majority opt for online and digital platforms (43%). Close runners-up are email (39%), mobile apps (33%), and offers in traditional physical stores (30%). In contrast, social media (19%) lags somewhat behind.

For this piece, we define disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' or 'long-term' effect on day-to-day life. This includes, but is not limited to, developmental disabilities (e.g., Down’s Syndrome), learning difficulties (e.g., dyslexia), mental health or emotional disabilities (e.g., mood disorders or schizophrenia), unseen disabilities (e.g., diabetes or Crohn’s disease), physical disabilities (e.g., spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy), sensory disabilities (e.g., visual or hearing impairments), and speech/language disabilities (e.g., Developmental Language Disorder).

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the UK market is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles

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