best cities to stay fit this winter

The best cities to stay fit this winter

Wednesday 06th Dec 2023 |

New research reveals the top cities for keeping fit throughout winter, as the days grow shorter, and the climate gets colder – and it turns out that people in Wigan are the best off. 

The ranking, created by Lift Vault, awarded each city a score out of 100 based on the number of gyms and yoga and wellness centres in each – scaled against population – as well as how well the facilities were reviewed to reveal where it’s easiest to prioritise fitness at this time of year. 

When all factors are accounted for, it turns out exercise enthusiasts in Wigan are best placed if they’re hoping to maintain their exercise habits without the luxury of warm weather. 

The city earned the top score of 83.1, due to having the best combination of number of indoor places to exercise and a high customer review score for each.

Following Wigan as the top city for keeping in shape in wintertime is Salford, which was rewarded the second highest score of 79.9. In third is Burnley, with 75.8 out of 100. 

Although it’s hard to resist the urge to snuggle up on the sofa rather than hit the gym as temperatures plumet, sticking to your fitness routine can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. 

Regular exercise releases feel-good endorphins and strengthens the immune system, helping to combat seasonal depression and the bugs that circulate throughout flu season. 

Getting into the swing of exercising in December can also help with commitment to new goals in January, as it establishes the routine without the added pressure of a New Year’s resolution.  

The top ten cities where it’s easiest to stay fit in winter

 City Score 
St Albans74.6
10 Preston65.9

On the other end of the scale, remaining active in winter is significantly harder in London, with the city rewarded a score of just 18.9. The city suffers due to a smaller availability of indoor gyms, and any that residents can access are rated more poorly than those in other areas.

Behind London as the second worst off city is Carlise at 31.0, while Birmingham follows very closely at 31.1

The top ten cities where it’s hardest to stay fit in winter 

 City Score 
London 18.9 
Carlisle 31.0 
Birmingham 31.1 
Edinburgh 31.5 
Glasgow 32.7 
Leeds 40.8 
Bristol 41.7 
Liverpool 42.4 
Sheffield 43.1 
10 Plymouth 43.4 

As well as revealing which cities offers the best and worst overall environment to stay physically healthy over winter, the study also awarded each city a score out of 10 – relative to the other cities – based solely on customer satisfaction related to the gyms.

Peterborough came out as the area with the best-rated gyms, with the top score of 10, thanks to its average feedback rating of 4.9 – compared to the average score for gyms across the UK of 4.5. In stark comparison, Carlisle was given the lowest score of 0, as the average rating was just 3.7.

Commenting on the findings, a Lift Vault spokesperson says: “It’s easy to let exercise slip during the winter months, with the dark nights making the days feel shorter and the cold weather deterring you from practising your usual routine, for example heading out on a run.

“If you feel your motivation has lapsed, give a gym or yoga class a go instead. Sometimes this switch up is all you need to get you going again. Plus, being in a room full of others all working towards the same goal can really spur you on.

“Alternatively, if you live in an area which doesn’t offer viable facilities – or perhaps, you’re trying to save to costly festivities – incorporate home workouts into your training. Since this doesn’t require venturing outdoors at all, it might be the way to get you feeling enthusiastic about exercise again.”