Sport England's Active Lives Survey measures the sport and physical activity levels of adults (aged 16+) across England. The last survey looked at the period May 2019-May 2020 and therefore covers the time that England was in lockdown from 23 March to mid-May.
The Active Lives Survey allows us to gain a picture of what's happening in England, as well as enabling us to see how we measure up in Berkshire. The survey provides reports showing us how active people are in different areas and how these levels have changed, who within our county is not managing to be as active as we would like and how many adults are giving back to their communities by volunteering. Throughout England, less women are active than men, being inactive is more likely if you have a disability and people become less active with age.
In England, 62.8% of adults are achieving the recommended minimum 150 minutes of physical activity each week, meaning 28.6 million people are gaining all the amazing health benefits from being active.
However, there was a 0.7% increase in inactivity compared to the previous 12 months. Activity levels in England were increasing until measures to counter the Coronavirus pandemic were introduced in mid-March. Lockdown led to unprecedented decreases in activity levels between mid-March and mid-May: compared to the same two-month period 12 months earlier, there were 3.0m (-7.1%) fewer active adults and 3.4m (+7.4%) more inactive adults. Sport England have produced a specific Coronavirus report.
In Berkshire the current activity rate is 64.7%. 12 months ago it was 67.1% so the numbers of active people have declined a little. Inactivity increased over the same period for Berkshire, the South East and England.
Wokingham tops the county as the most active area in Berkshire for the 2nd survey in a row and West Berkshire experienced a huge 9.3% increase in activity levels compared to the previous results. The results also found that over 23% of people in our Berkshire communities in Berkshire are considered inactive so are doing less than 30 minutes per week of physical activity, which is why the work that Get Berkshire Active does is so important.
Berkshire is doing well when it comes to volunteering. 17.6% of people in the county had helped out with sport or physical activity twice in the past year which is higher than the rate for England and the South East.
As most of us know, physical activity is so important to individuals in terms of their physical and mental health; it can decrease the risk of many chronic conditions such as cancer, stroke and type 2 diabetes and can make a positive impact upon reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as enhancing self-esteem and well-being. There are also many benefits of sport and physical activity both socially and culturally, bringing people together and creating social groups. Participation has shown to improve numeracy in children, reduce crime and strengthen community identity.
To find out more about Sport England's vision to get more people engaged in sport and physical activity have a look at their strategy 'Towards and Active Nation'.
If you would like to examine the results in more detail and to find out more about the survey, visit the Sport England website.