Latest physical activity trends starting to recover

Posted: Thu, 05 May 2022 09:20

Latest physical activity trends starting to recover

Activity levels are starting to recover following large drops caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic restrictions, the latest Active Lives Adult Survey report from Sport England shows. Covering the period between November 2020 and November 2021, the results show that while activity levels obviously dropped as a result of restrictions designed to stop the spread of the virus, they then stabilised and are now starting to recover. Between November 2020 and November 2021, 61.4% of the population were active, and 27.2% were inactive. The recovery started in mid-March 2021 when there was a rise of 3% to 61.2% of the population getting active (between mid-March – mid-May), compared to just 58.2% 12 months earlier.

Key Findings:

  • It remains the case that activity levels generally decrease with age, with those aged 16-34 (67%) most likely to be active, with the lowest activity levels for those age 75+ (to 39%).
  • Both men and women have seen a clear drop in activity levels compared to pre-pandemic (November 18-19), with levels stabilising over the last 12 months. The drops were slightly greater for men (down 2.2% or 376,000) than women (down 1.7% or 266,000).
  • Activity levels among both the most and least affluent groups have seen a clear drop since the start of the pandemic in line with the national picture.
  • Those with Mixed (68%), White British (63%) or White Other (65%) ethnicities remain more likely to be active than Chinese (58%), Black (55%) or Asian (excluding Chinese) (50%) people.
  • Activity levels for adults with a long-term health condition or a disability remain down compared to before the pandemic although their activity levels have stabilised over the last 12 months.

Participation rates in North Yorkshire have often been higher than the national picture and that continues to be the case with 65.7% of adults achieving the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week. 10% of the population fall in to the fairly active category leaving 24.3% of our population categorised as inactive (doing less than 30 minutes a week) which is approximately 168000 adults.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief executive of Sport England said: "Today's Active Lives report shows how activity levels are starting to recover. That's testament to the dedication of all of those who worked so hard to bring activities back safely when restrictions started to be eased.

Though this report clearly sets out the many challenges that lie ahead in supporting people to play more sport and lead more active lives, the key investments and resources we were able to provide during the harshest of restrictions also played an important role in helping sports get back on their feet.

That the data tells us that this initial recovery is not universal is not a surprise and that is exactly why our Uniting the Movement strategy focuses resources and funding disproportionally towards the people and places that need the most support to be active."

Head of Development at North Yorkshire Sport, George Cull, said "The signs of a recovery in participation levels are encouraging, but it is important that we still highlight where the inequality gaps exist. These results should act as a call to action to focus our efforts on creating the conditions for more people from all parts of society to be active on a more regular basis."

To read the full Sport England report, please go to:

Latest physical activity trends starting to recover

Tags: Sport England