The over 65s are helping to lift a boom in the UK's health and fitness industry, while the overall number of startups in the industry has risen 37% since 2012, according to Barclays Business.

The research found a surge in the number of power-lifting pensioners setting up their of gyms and health clubs, rising by a quarter in the last three years - accounting for 5% of the total number of health and fitness clubs in the UK.

Barclays Business also said that the sector has benefited from strong levels of health-conscious consumer spending, with a 41% rise in turnover since 2012. In addition to the rise in startups, 20% have been running for 10 years or more.

Adam Rowse, head of business banking at Barclays, said: "The UK health & fitness industry is dynamic and we are currently SMEs come to market with innovative ways to keep the nation fit. While consumer appetite for keeping healthy continues, it is no surprise that this diversity is not just for good business but also for the bottom line. Businesses wanting to benefit from the growth of the UK's health economy should research their market and competition and look for the funding options available that will help them to flourish and thrive in 2016 and beyond.

“Our data also shows that health and fitness is not just a preserve of the young, with an increasing number aged 65 and over demonstrating that it is never too late to set up on your own. It is also encouraging to see a rising level of female entrepreneurship in the sector.”

The study also found that female entrepreneurs are having an increasing impact on the market. The number of women owning health and fitness clubs - outright or jointly - grew by 28% over the past three years. The level of sole female SME owners in this sector is above the UK average of 38%, with over half (52%) owned by a woman.

Of the total health & fitness businesses in the UK, London leads the way with 21%, followed by the South East (16%) the East of England (14%) and the North West (9%).