National Fitness Day (NFD) 2016, sponsored by retailer Argos, saw more people get moving than ever before.
Over 18,000 events took part across the UK last Wednesday (September 7), making it the most active day of the year.
The sixth annual event, organised by not-for-profit health body ukactive, saw more than 6,000 venues hold multiple activity events throughout the day.
Thousands of gyms and leisure venues offered free physical activity taster sessions, while Argos celebrated NFD across its 800-plus stores by hosting a range of fitness classes including in-store circuits, Body Jam sessions and outdoor workouts.
The day kicked off with a special launch event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London with activity sessions for the local community. Ballerina and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judge Darcey Bussell CBE showcased her DDMIX (Diverse Dance Mix) fitness class, alongside sessions from Motivate East, Our Parks and Exercise in the City.
Meanwhile, over at the Houses of Parliament, more than 40 MPs including Sports Minister Tracey Crouch tried their hands at hula-hooping, boxing, tai chi, tennis, boccia and samba as part of an outdoor activity taster session from ParkLives.
NFD 2016 participation levels across the country are still being counted, but the final total is expected to reach in excess of 100,000 people.
One of the core drivers of engagement was an explosion of social media activity. NFD 2016 took Twitter by storm and was the UK’s number one trending topic for almost eight hours. Backed by a hive of activity across Facebook and Instagram as well, the total social media reach of NFD 2016 exceeded 49 million users.
The event also made waves across mainstream media, with live TV coverage and dozens of radio broadcasts across the UK on the day, taking the total media reach of NFD 2016 to 55 million.
Steven Ward, executive director of ukactive said: “NFD 2016 was our biggest and best event yet and we’re delighted to see the physical activity sector and wider partners such as Argos team up to get the nation moving.
“We’re already working on next year’s event and want to engage more members of the public and our sector to ensure that NFD 2017 reaches wider than ever before.”
Argos head of corporate responsibility Amy Whidburn added: “As a leading health and fitness retailer, our view is that the fun and enjoyment of physical activity can bring a whole host of well-being benefits, and that’s why we were delighted to see so many of our colleagues and customers taking part in NFD.
“We’re passionate about celebrating that fun of fitness and increasing activity levels and we have a whole range of products to help with that.”