“Private health club operators have seen no let up in membership levels in spite of the downturn, according to figures published by The Leisure Database Company, a consultancy. In a sign health-conscious Britons may be more reluctant to forgo their gym memberships than would have been expected, LDC said private health and fitness clubs had seen a 1 per cent like-for-like increase in membership numbers during the 12 months to the end of March. ‘The industry is showing remarkable resilience,’ said David Minton, director of LDC. ‘In times of a recession, people are seeing exercising as a way to release stress and the gym as a place to network. This is especially true for those who are unemployed or [are] working fewer days.’ The figures offer a contrast to a report published in March by Mintel, which painted a more worrying picture of the private fitness industry. In the grip of a worsening economic climate in which gym fees were increasingly viewed as a luxury, Mintel said it was expecting penny-pinching consumers to trade down to cheaper alternatives, such as local authority -run facilities. It forecast 8m extra admissions to public leisure centres this year and a 100,000 fall in private health and fitness club memberships. Mr Minton of LDC agreed membership levels at public leisure centres were increasing..."