New Active Lives figures released

New activities added as part of comprehensive national survey

26 January 2017

The survey, which runs 365 days a year, asks people aged 16 and over across England about the sport and physical activities they take part in. Results will be published twice a year.

Download our first Active Lives report by clicking on the image below.

active lives report cover

200,000 people completed the first round of the survey between November 2015 and November 2016, making Active Lives the biggest and most comprehensive survey of its kind and an important source of detailed and reliable information about what people do and enjoy.

Key statistics include:

  • The number of adults who do less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity sport and physical activity per week
  • The number of adults who do 150 minutes or more of moderate intensity sport and physical activity a week, meeting the guidelines recommended by the Chief Medical Officer
  • The most popular types of activity.

In line with the Government’s new strategy for sport and physical activity, many different types of activity are now included, reflecting the full range of what people actually do.

In addition to sporting and fitness activities, the new survey measures the levels of walking, cycling for travel and dance. Sessions are only included in the figures if they are done at least at ‘moderate intensity’, which means raising your heart rate and getting a little out of breath.

This information will be helpful to any organisation or individual wanting to understand the role that sport and physical activity plays in people’s everyday lives.

Levels of activity

People who are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of activity a week, stand to benefit the most from starting to increase their activity levels. That’s why Sport England and the Government is focusing considerable expertise and resources in this area.

Figures from the Active Lives Survey show that 25.6 per cent of adults are currently inactive. There are some big differences within these numbers.

People in the highest socio economic groups tend to be more active than those in the lower groups and you’re significantly more likely to be inactive if you’re over 55 years old. 51 per cent of disabled people with three or more impairments are inactive, compared to 21 per cent of people without disabilities.

In contrast, 60.7 per cent of adults (or 27 million) do at least 150 minutes of activity per week, meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for weekly activity.

More men than women are physically active, especially in sporting activities. People in the highest socioeconomic group are more likely to be active than any other group, and as people get older, activity levels decrease steadily.

Popular activities

The figures show the enormous role that walking, fitness activities and playing sport have in people’s lives, with many people doing several different things to add up to an active lifestyle.

Local picture

Active Lives is a national survey but offers a vast amount of local data which can be used to develop local projects and policies.

Further information