The impact of coronavirus on activity levels revealed
Posted: Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:39
The majority of physically active adults in England managed to maintain their habits despite the challenges of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, according to our latest Active Lives Adult Survey, with just 710,000 fewer active adults between November 2019 and November 2020 compared to the same period 12 months previously.
However, the first eight months of coronavirus restrictions, as well as the storms that had a huge impact on outdoor activity in early 2020, also led to a worrying increase in the number of people who were inactive – doing less than 30 minutes of activity a week or nothing at all.
The report, which was published today by Sport England, shows that while the restrictions associated with the pandemic had an unprecedented impact on activity levels, thanks in part to the support of the sport and physical activity sector, many people were able to adapt and find ways to return to activity as restrictions eased.
Not all groups or demographics were affected equally though, with women, young people aged 16-24, over 75s, disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, and those from Black, Asian, and other minority ethnic backgrounds most negatively impacted beyond the initial lockdown period.
Today's findings also show how people's relationship with sport and physical activity changed across the various different phases of coronavirus restrictions, who returned to activity once restrictions eased, and who didn't.
The scale of disruption
The pandemic led to unprecedented decreases in activity levels during the initial restrictions and, as a result, the latest annual results show the following changes compared to 12 months earlier:
- 710,000 (-1.9%) fewer active adults meeting the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines of taking part in 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, taking the total number of active adults to 27.9 million (61.4% of the population)
- 1.2m (+2.6%) more inactive adults taking part in less than an average of 30 minutes a week, taking the total number of inactive adults in England to 12.3m (27.1% of the population).