Sport England has released the figures of its latest Active Lives survey, revealing that one million more people are active now than in 2015.
The survey, conducted by IPSOS Mori, is taken from 180,000 respondents aged 16 or over in the 12 months from May 2018 to May 2019. The organisation says that the results show over a million people are more active than when it first carried out the yearly survey in four years ago.
According to Sport England, the number of ‘active people’, which it defines as those doing ‘at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week’ has risen to 28.6 million, while the number of ‘inactive people’ – those doing fewer than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week – is down by 131,700 to 11.2 million.
Sport England also says that the rising number of ‘active people’ has been driven by the growing numbers of women and older people participating in sport and fitness, with weight, interval and gym sessions becoming more popular forms or exercise among both groups.
The report also hints at the mental health benefits of physical activity, with ‘active people’ more likely to say they are happy, satisfied with their lives, or to feel the things they do in life are worthwhile.
Recently, Sport England launched its new We Are Undefeatable campaign, which aims to support those with physical disabilities or long-term health conditions to get active.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO, Sport England and Sport Industry Awards 2020 judge, said: “It’s really excellent news that a record number of people are now active every week and that we’re also seeing a significant decrease in the amount of inactive people. It shows us that efforts to help more people get active are starting to make a real difference, particularly for older adults, women and those with a disability or long-term health condition.
“But we can’t be complacent. Within the overall positive picture of these figures is a sobering reality – if you are well-off you are far more likely to be active than if you’re on a low income or less affluent. While there are complex barriers that stop less well-off people from getting active, this is an unacceptable inequality and one we’re starting to address in the work we are doing across the country – including piloting programmes in 12 local areas to tackle inequality.
“Being active has positive benefits for mental and physical wellbeing, strengthens communities and helps build confidence and resilience.
“We urge anyone working towards helping people live healthier lives – whether that’s government policy makers or health professionals – to consider physical activity as a vehicle to help drive positive outcomes, so that everyone can benefit.”