RANKINGS have placed Colchester in the bottom half of a national league table which ranks towns and cities in England and Wales on their suitability for fitness fanatics.

Analysis by life insurance experts, Forbes Advisor, measured the proportion of fitness facilities per 100,000 of the local population, as well as air quality, length of cycle routes, and the amount of greenspace in the area.

Colchester’s combined score placed it a lowly 75th out of 112 locations.

In particular, Colchester scored poorly on the proportion of fitness facilities available per 100,000, where it placed 87th out of 112 towns and cities.

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However, the town did score highly compared to other locations for the number of kilometres of cycles lanes, with Colchester sitting in 24th.

Commenting on the research, Forbes Advisor’s Kevin Pratt said: “If you live in an area that has the spaces and facilities to enable you to get plenty of exercise, that's something to celebrate.

“But even if you aren't, you can hopefully find a safe and enjoyable walking, running or cycling route nearby that will help you stay fit and on top of your game.”

Other towns in Essex scored slightly better, with Chelmsford placing 71st out of 112, and Southend placing 59th.