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Latest survey reveals a flat year for activity levels

Posted: Thu, 22 Oct 2020 17:28

Latest survey reveals a flat year for activity levels

The latest national survey into physical activity levels in adults has shown what a dramatic impact that the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown measures have had on our activity levels.

Sport England has today released its latest Active Lives Survey results from the period May 2019 - May 2020, which this year includes the first 7 weeks of lockdown.

The report shows that during the first 10 months of the survey that activity levels were actually on track to reach record highs. However the impact of the pandemic on activity levels nationally wiped out those gains.

Local results

The Norfolk survey results show that 60.2% of residents are Active (doing 150+ minutes of activity per week), and that 11.8% of us are Fairly Active, or getting between 30-149 minutes of activity a week. That means more than a quarter of Norfolk residents (28.1%) are Inactive, which is a statistically significant increase from the previous year.

Highlight statistics from the local authority areas include:

  • Broadland remains the most active district, with 64.7% of adults classed as Active, followed by Norwich at 63.7%
  • Great Yarmouth remains the least active, with 34.6% of adults classed as Inactive, followed by KLWN at 30.4%
  • South Norfolk has the lowest number of Inactive adults, at 24%
  • Norwich recorded a sharp decline in Fairly Active and an increase in Inactive, with an almost 6% drop in the number of people classed as Fairly Active (dropping down to 11.4%) and a 7.4% increase in Inactive adults (which rose to 24.9%)

The Active Lives survey also captures the sports and activities that people are engaging in. Looking at broad activity groups, the most popular activity continues to be walking - for both leisure and travel - with 59.7% of survey respondents reporting this activity. This was followed by sporting activities (33.3%), fitness activities (30.4%), and cycling (16.6%).

The impact of the coronavirus

Alongside the traditional survey, this year Sport England have also released a report on activity levels during the height of lockdown, covering the final 7 weeks of the reporting period from mid March - mid May.

These findings show the full scale of the impact that lockdown and restrictions on movement and social gathering had on our routines and activities.

Nationally, the proportion of adults classed as active dropped by 7.1% to 58.2%, whilst the proportion of adults classed as inactive increased by 7.4% to 30.4%.

The Coronavirus report also captured the change in specific activities in response to the lockdown. Key highlights include:

  • Walking for leisure was the primary activity during this period, with more than 21 million adults going for a walk.
  • Walking for travel dropped 16.3% down to 8.4m
  • Cycling for leisure and sport increased by 1.2m (+2.5%) - breaking from the flat trend of the past two years which is attributed to high profile participation campaigns, good weather and less traffic on the roads.
  • With gyms and leisure centres closed, and despite the emergence of alternative activities and home workouts, there was a net drop of 3% in those taking part across the range of fitness activities.

There's interesting demographic data that's come out too:

  • The negative impact on activity levels was lower for women than men during lockdown.
  • Women saw a smaller drop in activity levels (-5.4%) compared to men (-8.9%). Indications are that women found it easier to adapt to online and at-home alternatives, and are also more likely to walk than men.

You can access both reports from the Sport England website.

Tags: Active Lives, coronavirus