This age group has seen the greatest negative impact from the pandemic, with higher levels of anxiety and financial stresses, and lower activity levels. Despite some recovery as restrictions eased across mid-March to mid-May 2021, activity levels remain 6.0%/900,000 down on the same period in 2019 (pre-pandemic).
The decline is more pronounced for those aged 16-24. This has been driven, in part, by the highest drops in activity levels from students whose routines have been significantly impacted, while activity levels for those living alone were also down.
Furthermore, the activities this age group are most likely to be involved in, such as team sports, were most severely restricted for much of the 12-month period.
Perceived capability and enjoyment of sport and physical activity fell for this age group, which raises concerns for the long-term recovery.
The 75+ group has also seen consistently large drops throughout the period with no real sign of recovery.
Furthermore, older adults relied heavily on walking for leisure to stay physically active.
With a significant fall in other activities, it suggests the older age group may need additional support to recover activity levels. Those aged 75+ also experienced the largest drops in both happiness and life worthwhileness.
Among those aged 35-54, the declines were larger among those without children or living alone. This suggests that that having a family or a partner helps to keep adults active. This notion is supported by the fact single people living alone aged 16-34 saw one of the biggest drops in activity levels during this time.