Flabby Britain: Do you have the world’s most expensive clothes hanger?

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Brits admit to an average of £300-worth of unused exercise equipment clogging up their homes

We’re a country that desperately wants to improve its fitness, but once we’ve bought all the gear we find it’s too much like hard work and rarely use it, it’s been reported.

That’s the finding of the UK’s fastest-growing waste management and recycling company, whose survey discovered an average of £300 of unused gym equipment lying around homes up and down the country.

According to the BusinessWaste.co.uk company, people really do use their exercise bikes as clothes horses, and garages, lofts and the space under the bed are dominated by bought-and-used-once gear that’s better off sold or recycled.

“It seems that virtually every house in the country has some piece of torture equipment hidden away which they thought was a good idea at the time,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall, “and it appears that rowing machines and exercise bikes are the most popular.

“Or unpopular, depending on which way you look at it. But whatever your view, that’s hundreds of millions of pounds worth of fitness equipment going to waste.”

BusinessWaste.co.uk spoke to 2000 households, and 1900 admitted that they had bought exercise equipment before subsequently abandoned it somewhere in their house.

How much did you spend on exercise equipment?

• Up to £100 – 12%
• Around £200 – 14%
• Around £300 – 56%
• Around 500 – 16%
• More than £ 500 – 2%

How often did you use this equipment?

• Never – 5%
• Once – 48%
• More than once -38%
• I’m still using it – 9%

If you don’t use it, where is it now?

• Under the bed – 23%
• Loft – 7%
• Garage – 20%
• Wardrobe – 18%
• Being used as a clothes hanger – 21%
• Living room/elsewhere in the house – 11%

BusinessWaste.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall says: “This shows the incredible amounts of money people spend with the intention of getting fit, but find – much like gym memberships taken out in January on the back of a New Year resolution – they don’t have the time or energy to follow through with their spending.”

And it turns out people really do use exercise bikes as clothes storage.

“At last,” says Hall, “A media cliché that’s not made up!”

That’s borne out by comments from those surveyed:

Claire: “Hundreds of pounds spent of an exercise bike and rowing machine, but we’ve so little space for them in the house – and ‘out of sight, out of mind’, as they say.”

Spencer: “I bought one of those cross country ski machines after seeing it on a TV shopping channel. I didn’t realise how big it was, and I could only use it in the garden where I felt an utter idiot. It’s in the garage now.”

Laura: “Bike machine. Used twice. Hubby and kids laughed at me while I tried to use it watching EastEnders, so it’s being very handy as a clothes rack upstairs.”

If it’s filling up your house, you really ought to be thinking of getting rid of it, says Hall.

“The problem with selling and free-cycling is that you know it’s only going to fill up someone else’s house,” he says, “and so the cycle continues.”

The best place or old and unloved exercise equipment is the local rubbish tip, where you know every part will be re-used.

Get it recycled,” says Hall, “Then go for a nice free healthy walk.”

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