Olympics spark huge increase in city gym use

THE Olympic effect is being credited with a huge boost in gym use across Edinburgh.

New memberships at health and leisure facilities, run by Edinburgh Leisure, were up 79 per cent compared with those in August last year.

Along with the reopening of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, the Olympics has also inspired people to start swimming – spurred on by stars such as silver medal-winning former Edinburgh University swimmer Michael Jamieson.

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The Capital saw a 22 per cent rise in people going for a swim, and there was also a 13 per cent rise in the amount of non-members attending the gym on a “pay and play” basis.

Sportscotland said that the figures were “encouraging”.

A spokesman said: “Scottish sport is undoubtedly on a high after the success of Scottish athletes on TeamGB and 
ParalympicsGB, as well as Andy Murray’s first grand slam victory in the US Open.

“As the focus now moves on to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, it is vital that we capitalise on this momentum and work to ensure that more people in Scotland become involved in sport and physical activity.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games were amazing, with inspiring performances and images that people will remember for a long time.

“With a strong and growing interest in the upcoming Commonwealth Games, there is an unrivalled opportunity to boost participation in sport in Scotland. It is no surprise that more people realise the health benefits of physical activity and are interested in becoming active, and gym membership is just one way of taking that step.”

Across Scotland, Stirling Council gyms were the only ones which saw a drop in the amount of people joining.