21st April 2023
Adults’ activity levels in England bounce back to pre-pandemic levels
Sport England revealed this week that nationally the number of people playing sport and taking part in physical activity has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The latest Active Lives Adult Survey report is the first release to cover a period without any coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions since the pandemic.
It shows, between November 2021 and November 2022, 63.1 per cent (29.1 million) of the population met the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of doing 150 minutes, or more, of moderate intensity physical activity a week – an increase of 1.7 per cent year on year.
This means that, compared with when Sport England first ran the survey between November 2015 and November 2016, there are 1.5m more active adults nationally – a statistically significant number.
The number of people classed as inactive nationally – averaging fewer than 30 minutes a week – has fallen over the last year by 1.4 per cent, to 25.8 per cent of the population (11.9m).
This remains slightly above pre-pandemic levels, but is in line with where they were in 2015-16.
Sport England chief executive Tim Holingsworth OBE said: “This is hugely welcome news and, as well as our strategic and targeted investment of both Government and National Lottery funding, it is down to the monumental effort from those working across sport and physical activity at organisations, both professionals and volunteers, that we’ve got to this point.
“The past few years have been a hugely challenging road for all of us, and I thank you all for your efforts to help as many people as possible play sport and enjoy the benefits of living an active life.”
However, inequalities do remain.
The national data shows the scale of recovery has varied across different sections of society with women, those from lower socio-economic groups and Black and Asian people still less likely to be active than others.
Tim said: “It’s clear the recovery has not been universal and today’s report provides further evidence that some groups face more barriers to being active – women, those living in the most deprived places and people from diverse ethnic communities remain less likely to be active than others.
“The data also shows the challenge facing the country in ensuring young adults continue to engage with physical activity as, while their participation has increased over the last 12 months, the overall trend for the 16-34 age group remains a concern.
“This highlights the continued importance of tackling the inequalities within sports participation.
“This is the central mission within our long-term strategy, Uniting the Movement, and will be a fundamental part of everything we do.
“It’s why we’ll focus resources and funding towards the people and places that need the most support to be active and we will work hard to build on today’s result in the months and years ahead.
“There is, of course, no silver bullet to these challenges, but today’s findings should give us confidence that, by working together, we can ensure more people, regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender ability or financial background, can enjoy the unique and varied benefits associated with playing sport and being physically active.”
To read the full report, visit the Sport England website here.
To read more Active Sussex’s five year strategy ‘Getting Sussex Moving’, visit our vision and purpose page.