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Widespread support for safety measures at indoor facilities as users return

Our latest survey also shows activity levels are lowest for over 55s, disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.

The number of people using indoor sports facilities has gone up since all restrictions were lifted in July, with large support for coronavirus safety measures suggesting they’re giving people the confidence to return.

The news comes from the latest wave of our survey looking at people’s activity levels and attitudes towards activity throughout the pandemic.

Carried out by Savanta ComRes, the survey shows the use of indoor facilities is up 11 percentage points from April 2021, and nine percentage points for outdoor settings – but it's not all positive, with some groups continuing to struggle to be active and a third of people aged 55+ continuing to do zero days of activity a week.

A group of women take part in a spin class at a gym.

So for our executive director of insight, Lisa O'Keefe, the positive trends are to be welcomed, but we know there's still work to do to help everyone return to activity.

“It's encouraging to see that people are returning to indoor facilities like gyms and swimming pools now that restrictions have been lifted,” she said.

“And it’s, in no small part, thanks to the continued dedication of those working in our indoor facilities.

“The broad support for having coronavirus measures in place such as masks, social distancing and sanitising stations is a reminder to all sport and physical activity providers that making safety measures visible and being proud of what they're doing to keep people safe should help get people through the door.

“It's especially important when over 40% of people say they are worried about leaving home to exercise or be active. We must continue to take steps to build that confidence."

The results are the first since all restrictions were lifted on 19 July, and show a broad support for the continuation of some coronavirus safety measures, with 83% of indoor gym and fitness centre users and 78% of outdoor exercise class participants saying facilities should continue to implement things such as mask wearing, one-way systems, social distancing and sanitation stations.

These results are reflected in people's confidence when returning, with 77% of respondents from indoor gyms and fitness centres reporting feeling comfortable, and 80% for outdoor facilities such as courts and pitches.

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