There are nine million lonely people in the UK and four million of them are older people. Many older people find constant loneliness hardest to overcome. They lack the friendship and support we all need.

As we spotlight the issue via #LonelinessAwarenessWeek, it is evident that the last 12 weeks will have impacted on older adults living alone who will have found it harder to maintain their social connections.

Prior to COVID, Shapemaster surveyed 172 users aged 65+ across a number of leisure sites within the UK to determine the impact that Shapemaster equipment has on the health and wellbeing of this population.

The data revealed very interesting results with 24% of participants indicating that their social life had improved since accessing Shapemaster power assisted exercise.

9% of participants reported to be living with a mental health related concern, of these, 40% indicated that their social life had improved, 80% indicated they generally felt better and 27% indicated that they now go outside more.

73% of those who indicated they were living with a mental health related concern fell into the 65-74 age group, whilst 27% were in the 75-84 age bracket.

“My loneliness has improved as after I lost my husband 9 years ago I had bad depression, as we had been married 48 years. I still have my bad days but more good than bad.”

Grace, aged 77, service user at Grimsby Leisure Centre



  • The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. This compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years (Age UK 2018, All The Lonely People)
  • There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).


  • Loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression. (Valtorta et al, 2016) (James et al, 2011) (Cacioppo et al, 2006)
  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 29% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)


Across the UK, leisure sites are enjoying commercial success whilst their members (whose average age is 67) enjoy the health and social benefits a Shapemaster suite can bring.

“We soon realised that there was a key gap in the market which wasn’t supporting adults over the age of 65. Having looked at solutions it became apparent that Shapemaster could address the needs of our aging community. And following the installation we haven’t been disappointed. In fact introducing the health studio has surpassed all of our commercial expectations and has improved the health and wellbeing of so many older adults”.

Chris Mortimer, Centre Manager at Sheppey Leisure Complex


Our research shows that 48% of those aged 65+ accessed power assisted exercise more than 3 times each week and 49% of participants indicated that social engagement was their primary reason for visiting the facility.

“I didn’t expect it to be so social. I’ve made new friends and we’ve been out for meals together and are looking forward to shopping together when the weather improves”

Sue, aged 72, member at Sheppey Health Studio

Furthermore, our research demonstrated significant impact to the physical health and wellbeing of older adults:

  • 70% say they can move better
  • 33% indicate that their mobility has improved
  • 27% say they can move parts of their body that they couldn’t move before
  • 22% indicate they can walk further

Discover how leisure operators are enjoying commercial success with Shapemaster:

Hear what some of our members have to say:

For more information or to request a copy of the report, please contact: