Active Lives Survey: Latest figures on physical activity levels

Sport England have released the latest Active Lives survey results which gives us key insight to the activity levels of people in England.

Hannah Meek

09 May 2023

3 Children running in playground

Have you heard about the latest survey results on physical activity levels in adults aged 16+? Sport England just released the data, and it covers the period from November 2021 to November 2022, which is the first time we're seeing results without any Covid restrictions in place.


The good news is that physical activity levels are improving in the UK, and we're back to the baseline level of 2015-16. According to the survey, 63.1% (29.1 million) of adults are active, which is an increase of 1.7% from the previous year. And, 25.8% are inactive, which is a reduction of 1.4%. But, there are still significant disparities across different demographics, particularly among women, those from lower socio-economic groups, and Black and Asian people.


Things might seem like they're getting better for young people (aged 16-34) getting active, but if you look at the big picture, there are actually almost half a million fewer young people being active now than there were six years ago. On the flip side, we were making some serious progress in getting older adults more active before the pandemic hit, and that progress continued even after the restrictions were lifted. As of now, we've got about 1.3 million (5%) more active people aged 55-74, and just over half a million (7.8%) more active people aged 75+ than we did back in November 2015-16.


Overall, there hasn't been a lot of change in physical activity levels over the past year. We're still doing better than the national average, but the gap is starting to close. Whilst this is disappointing, we know that long term behavioural change takes time and is why our current strategy goes to 2030. On the other hand, those who are active are moving even more with two-thirds of adults in Gloucestershire doing more than two and a half hours physical activity a week.


These survey results highlight the need for targeted interventions to encourage physical activity, particularly among those who are currently inactive. It's essential to address the inequalities that exist, particularly among women, those from lower socio-economic groups, and Black and Asian people. By doing so, we can work towards creating a more physically active and healthier population in the UK.


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Hannah Meek
09 May 2023

Senior Insight Officer