Active Lives Results – Northumberland Moving More

11th April 2019

New data released by Sport England showed that Northumberland is the most active county in the North East when it comes to adult participation rates in physical activity and sport.

Levels of inactivity in Northumberland

The data shows that 27.1% of the adult population in Northumberland are identified as being “inactive” – this means that they are achieving less than 30 minutes per week of moderate physical activity i.e. raising your heart rate and getting a little out of breath.

Evidence shows that people who are inactive are more likely to be on a low income, have a disability or a long-term health condition, or be over the age of 55. Women are also more likely to be less active compared to men, and people from the Asian, Black, and other ethnic groups were more likely to be physically inactive than those from the White British, White other and mixed ethnic groups.

The National picture

The results of the survey based on 180,000 members of the public across England show specific increases in the number of active women, meaning the gender gap between numbers of men and women who are physically active is continuing to narrow.

Figures also show an increase in the number of disabled people and those with long-term health conditions classed as active. This is the first increase in this category since the 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games – with gym sessions showing the biggest growth in the type of activity that people with disabilities are enjoying.

Sport England also reports that retired people are getting active, leading to a decrease in the number of adults aged 55+ classed as inactive, and getting active later in life can bring great benefits to quality of life later on.
The survey also shows that the activity habits of the nation continue to change:

  • Walking for leisure and travel has increased
  • Adventure sports (hill and mountain walking, climbing and orienteering) have seen significant growth
  • Fitness activities, driven by gym sessions, are the most popular activity after walking. Within this category, yoga and Pilates grew in popularity, while fitness classes like Zumba have become less popular
  • Swimming levels have stabilised after a period of decline, with peaks seen in outdoor and open water swimming during the summer heatwave of 2018
  • Weight sessions have grown in popularity for women.

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO at Sport England states:

“These results show that sport and physical activity still isn’t appealing to everyone.

“It isn’t right or fair that people on a low income, women and black and South Asian people are still less likely to be active. We’re working hard to address that across all of our programmes, with a new stage of the This Girl Can campaign, Fit Got Real, just one example.

“We urge all sport and physical activity providers to think about the practical steps they can take to make their sports more welcoming and inclusive to all.

“People are gravitating towards activities that can fit into their busy lives, that are enjoyable and where ability doesn’t have to matter.

“The fact that traditional sports participation isn’t growing is worrying considering their importance in the fabric of the nation and the positive social and community benefits they can bring.

“The nation’s activity habits are changing. The sports sector must become more demand-led as a result.

“We must ask how our sports can offer consumers the convenience they seek and offer activities that are enjoyable, affordable and accessible.”

Further information

For further information on the Active Lives Survey including links to the full report please visit the Sport England website.

Active Lives Survey
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