Health and fitness is not only a craving for guests but also for employees. In 1971, there were only 12 leisure centres in the UK. Today there are companies offering to buy their employees Fitbits to encourage health and well-being. Fitness today is sitting centrally to everyday life and lifestyle.
It does seem strange to understand that there were only 12 leisure centres in the UK almost 45 years ago and by 1981, this number had dramatically increased and there were 449. The rise in the importance of personal fitness had begun. In past eras, sport was simply a recreation for all but the very top athletes. Today the average executive exercises four times per week – the word ‘executive’ is stressed, as the average person in the UK today only walks 60 miles per year which is a fall by almost 50 per cent in the last 20 years. 60 miles is just over a mile per week – a fact that concerns doctors as the UK seems to be becoming a split culture of those who are educated, aware and embrace health and fitness and those who do not.
The counter argument is that an increasing number of people are becoming educated and aware, so it is just a matter of time. In 2016 sport is far more than a pastime for those that embrace it and there are huge numbers today participating in sport. In 2016, 7.7m people play sports more than three times per week. This is beyond exercising to stay fit. This number has grown by 17 per cent in the last decade. 9.5m are involved in sports clubs across the UK and 6m play competitive sport on a regular basis.
“IN 2016 SPORT IS FAR MORE THAN A PASTIME FOR THOSE THAT EMBRACE IT AND THERE ARE HUGE NUMBERS TODAY PARTICIPATING IN SPORT”
Since the post-war era, the British sporting culture has quietly, even reluctantly, been forced to evolve from an almost amateur ethos to a level of high professionalism that operates within the leading clubs today. In recent years, sport has become increasingly central to everyday life and also big business in its own right as major brands such as Nike and Adidas have become household names and brands. Commercialism in sport sits centrally for all activities from local sponsorship deals of village and town football clubs to Virgin Money’s sponsorship of the London Marathon, RBS’s of the Six Nations or Barclays of Football’s Premier League. Each week one can easily witness both the relationship between players and supporters in stadia across the country and also the increased commercialism and wealth in sport.
The momentum for change has been supported by a social revolution, which has seen personal fitness grow in importance with each passing decade. As of the 2016 London Marathon one person in every 100 has run the Marathon. Over one million runners have passed the finish line since its founding in 1981. Amateur sport in this country is impressively large but sport is, in today’s world, a business and no longer just a recreation, and of course, the pressures of both will create challenges, tensions and change.
Fitness today plays an important role and this is set to only increase and of course, it will impact on hotels as this audience seeks to eat healthier. With change happening, hotels are still seen as a place for indulgence but they must also be able to provide healthy food and fitness facilities in some shape or form to satisfy their guests’ cravings.