Activity levels at record high before coronavirus pandemic
Our latest Active Lives Adult Survey shows greater numbers of women, older people and those with a disability or long-term health condition were getting active.
Activity levels were on the rise and inactivity was falling before the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, according to our latest Active Lives Adult Survey.
Published today but conducted in the 12 months to November 2019, the figures show 28.6 million adults were active – i.e. doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week.
This accounts for 63.3% of the nation’s population and is up 404,600 people on the previous 12 months.
The results also show there were 159,500 fewer inactive people – those not doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week – than the previous 12 months.
Click on the link below to read our report – if embedded links in the PDF do not function correctly in Google Chrome, please use another browser or open the report in a dedicated PDF viewer:
The report shows the increase in activity is being driven by rises in the numbers of women, adults aged 55+ and disabled people or people with long-term health conditions being active.
These are all areas where we’ve focused significant investment in the last few years with campaigns such as This Girl Can and We Are Undefeatable, as well as more recent work with Demos on their home exercise radio show 10 Today which supports the over 70s to be more active.
Also, for the first time the report shows information relating to people’s perceived loneliness and its link to physical activity, with those both volunteering and playing sport being less likely to feel lonely and reporting higher levels of happiness.
“That overall activity levels were at a record high across England at the end of last year is excellent news, particularly the strong growth among older adults, people with a disability and among those with long term health conditions,” said our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth.
“These are areas which Sport England has committed significant time, insight and investment into in recent years and it is encouraging that we were starting to see such growth there. “
However, the results show inequalities linked to ethnicity and affluence do remain, with those from ethnic backgrounds and people in lower socio-economic groups less likely to be active - a fact acknowledged by Tim.
“Behind the overall positive picture, there remain areas of real concern,” he added.
“Not least the sobering reality that if you are well off you are far more likely to be active than if you are not, and the ongoing evidence of a significant ethnicity gap, where we are not seeing growth in activity levels among some ethnic groups.”
Results also show a drop in the activity levels of people aged 16-34, with those classed as active falling by 265,100, or 1.7%, compared to the previous 12 months – correspondingly, inactivity in the same group has increased by 176,600 (1.4%).
These figures are a particular worry when combined with others that show 16-24-year-olds as the age group most likely to say they always feel lonely.
Latest News from
Surge in appreciation of exercise and activity during lockdown22/05/2020 16:05:00
During Mental Health Awareness Week, our latest figures show the majority of people use exercise to manage their mental health.
£1 million crowdfunding support for clubs and organisations15/05/2020 14:15:00
We're working with Crowdfunder to match fund projects affected by coronavirus.
£1 million crowdfunding support for clubs and organisation14/05/2020 14:38:00
Sport England are working with Crowdfunder to match fund projects affected by coronavirus.
Active travel investment welcomed12/05/2020 16:15:00
The government's £2 billion injection of cash aims to maintain increased levels of walking and cycling when restrictions ease.
Community Emergency Fund boosted by £15m12/05/2020 13:05:00
Extra National Lottery support is to cover applications expected ahead of the fund being paused on Thursday.
Online workouts for pregnant women and new mums07/05/2020 10:05:00
The new workouts come at a time when our research shows some adults in England are doing less physical activity than they normally would during the lockdown.
Community Emergency Fund helps more than 2,000 organisations30/04/2020 13:05:00
Sport England have already awarded £8 million of funding to sports clubs in financial trouble due to coronavirus.
TV advert launched for Join the Movement28/04/2020 13:05:00
Radio slot and online advertising also added to help encourage people to #StayInWorkOut and keep active during the coronavirus pandemic.