Latest Active Lives Survey report released

Sport England have produced a report showing the results of the latest Active Lives Survey. This report covers the period between November 2019 – 2020. These figures cover a 4 month period of pre-Coronavirus restrictions, and the subsequent 8 months of lockdowns and restrictions that followed the official outbreak of the pandemic.

What is the Active Lives Survey?

The Active Lives Surveys measure the activity levels of people across England. There is a bi-annual report for the adult survey, and a yearly children’s report. Both give a unique, detailed and comprehensive view of how people are getting active across the country.

What were the main findings?

Activity levels dropped compared to the previous year overall, with 710,000 fewer adults hitting the 150 minutes a week target. However, the ways in which people responded to the different stages of the pandemic was noteworthy.

The initial phase of the pandemic hit hard, with 3 million fewer people being active compared to the previous year. However, these activity levels began to rise between May and September. This improved as the support of the sport and physical activity sector enabled people to adapt and find ways to return to activity safely and in line with the restrictions.

Not all groups or demographics were affected equally. In fact, the report suggests that women, young people (aged 16-24), those from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds, over 75s and those who live with a disability or long-term health condition were among those whose activity levels were most negatively impacted by the initial lockdown period.

As people adapted to the changing restrictions, certain activities saw fluctuation in popularity. Whilst walking for travel, swimming and team sports saw a dramatic drop due to the government restrictions (approximately 4.2 million less people reported walking for travel compared to the previous year), there was a large uptake of approximately 2.5 million in those participating in walking, running and cycling for leisure.

The overall ALS statistics for England were as follows:

What were the Active Lives Survey findings for Norfolk?

Norfolk’s statistics for the most recent Active Lives Survey are as follows:

Over the past 12 months, Norfolk has seen a decrease in active adults. Approximately 3.6% less adults were hitting their 150 minutes of physical activity a week. In turn, there has been a significant 4.7% increase of those who are inactive.

Local Authority Statistics

Most of the authorities didn’t have a significant change in their activity levels. The exception to this was Great Yarmouth, which saw a pretty significant 10.5% increase in inactive people (making their inactive total 39.5%) compared to the same period in 2018/2019.

Of all the local districts in Norfolk, Broadland remains the most active. In this area, 67.1% of adults managing to hit their 150+ minute target each week. This also beats the UK average of 61.4% making it a great result.

What’s next for Norfolk?

At Active Norfolk, we have remained committed to bringing people opportunities to enjoy throughout the lockdowns. This resulted in the creation of the Active Outdoors and Active at Home pages. These were designed to provide ways of remaining physically active whilst in lockdown.

The Active Lives Survey report shows that there is room for improvement in terms of the number of adults who are physically active across the county. As restrictions ease, we will continue to work hard in collaboration with local partners and organisations. We will promote the benefits of a physically active lifestyle, and strive for sport which is accessible to everyone.

For more information, or to read the full Active Lives Survey, click here. You can also use Sport England’s Active Lives tool to filter by location, You can also drill down on the motivations and trends in your local area here.