Gym websites have received even more visits than usual in the early part of January, new statistics have shown.

According to Hitwise, the post-Christmas period is always a busy time for online health portals, but UK traffic was up by a further 14 per cent compared to the start of 2008.

The online analyst suggested that, in the US at least, the surge in new year gym website visits is mostly due to men, who "have a greater propensity" to browse these sites during the busy month of January.

By the middle of the year, men’s interest in health websites has generally tapered off and women then dominate the visitor statistics.

While gym website visits are up on 2008, diet sites have not experienced a similar upswing, although there has been a notable increase in comparison to December.

Websites utilising the keywords ‘free diet plans’ and ‘diet pills’ as part of their search engine optimisation strategies may have benefited the most in recent weeks, with these phrases among the most commonly searched-for terms.

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