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How Brits, businesses and Boris Johnson embraced National Fitness Day

3 min read

09 September 2015

Former deputy editor

Health in the UK workplace is a rising concern, but National Fitness Day on 9 September has seen widespread activity across the country as Brits have embraced “the most active day of the year”.

With staff sickness absences costing the economy around £15bn annually, the 8 September saw the official launch of the Fit For Work scheme. The government-led programme is designed to provide employers with support when it comes to employee illness and sick pay.

Fitness is a huge industry at present, which was demonstrated with wearable activity firm Fitbit boasting a 253 per cent sales growth in August, while private equity firm Livingbridge sold its stake in sports apparel firm inov-8 that same month after the business grew twofold.

With these developments and more, the 9 September marks National Fitness Day – “the most active day of the year” – which was created by health body ukactive.

The organisation has found that 51 per cent of British adults believe its more important to live a healthy lifestyle than they did a year ago, suggesting the industry is only set to continue growing further still.

The day of activity itself has seen more than 2,000 health clubs across the country deliver more than 10,000 classes, including boot camps, spinning and more, for members and non-members alike. Additionally, some 780 primary schools have also taken part with special events to combat childhood obesity.

“National Fitness Day is a chance for everyone, no matter how fit they are, to try something new and get the activity bug,” said Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson, chair of ukactive.

“Being physically active is a great way to have fun, make friends and feel good about yourself. But it’s also one of the most important ways we can look after our long-term health, helping to cut your risk of developing a range of conditions from dementia to cancer.”

Video streaming site Netflix, known to induce binge-watching among its customers, chose a tongue-in-cheek approach to promoting the cause.

Meanwhile, the likes of Fitness First and LA Fitness opened their doors to provide free sessions, with ex-footballer Stan Collymore getting involved with the promotions.

London’s mayor Boris Johnson has also been among the public faces encouraging activity among Brits – but not everyone was impressed by his antics…