Skip to content


What motivates one group to be active might be a barrier to another. That’s why we conduct research into how different people get active and what prevents them from doing so.

We’re all different

Our funds landing page skating group together

Understanding why we are or aren’t active 

Data from our Active Lives surveys, together with other commissioned and collected research, has allowed us to put together stats and understanding into what affects and impacts activity levels for specific population groups. 

In addition, we've split our data into different settings, scenarios and groups to give you further understanding of the complexities involved in trying to help people to take part.


We've taken our groundbreaking and in-depth research and split it into a number of different demographics to help you understand why some people are less active.

Click on any of the groups below to discover the reasons behind their activity levels.


Click on any of the below sections to find out what we know about participation, engagement and activity levels across a variety of settings and scenarios. 

Do major events increase participation? How do you recruit more volunteers to your local club? What impact does getting active outdoors have? We’ll tell you what we know.

The workforce

The workforce - which includes volunteers and coaches - play a big role in ensuring those taking part have the best possible experience.

Click below to read what the research tells us about how we can best support the people who help make sport and activity happen.

Topics and issues


The impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) has been felt across the nation, in all walks of life, and we want to gauge how it's affecting activity levels.

In order to know how best to try and keep the nation active, we commissioned a weekly survey to be conducted during the time of restrictions on movement and social distancing.

See the impact

Cost of living

Our Activity Check-in tracks a small number of metrics on behaviours and attitudes from both adults and children and young people towards sport and physical activity over time, revealing the impact of changing circumstances in a rapidly changing world.

During our first survey we asked people what impact the cost of living has on their physical activity habits.

The subsequent report explores our current, collective understanding of how the cost of living impacts people's activity levels and shares some ideas on how to help people get, or remain, active at low or no cost.

See the report

Horizon scanning

In 2021 we undertook a horizon scanning project, to provide foresight on the trends that will impact sport and physical activity to 2031 and beyond.

The project explored the implications for the sector and helped us to identify and understand future strategic issues - ensuring we’re fit to face the future.  

This foresight, coupled with other insight and learnings, gave us a clearer and more rounded view of some of the issues that could be lying ahead as we developed, and embarked on delivering our 10-year vision - to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. 

You can find out more about the 15 trends, including a summary of each, how they might develop in the future and what this may mean for the sport and physical activity sector, by reading the report.

About our research

Our research guide

Putting people at the heart of what we do is a key part of our strategy. 

Working with research agency 2CV, we’ve produced a guide to help you create high quality research that allows you to understand the customers you're trying to reach. 

Long-held assumptions can stop the sport and physical activity sector engaging with people outside of our traditional strongholds. And that means we can’t appeal to new audiences – people who are so important to the success of our Uniting the Movement strategy.  

Insight is only as good as the research that underpins it – so this guide is designed to help you carry out top-quality research that has a big impact on your organisational goals.

A group of women having a chat during a break in a game of hockey.

Quality of our research

We are scrupulous about the accuracy of all the research we commission. 

Our surveys are contracted out to experienced market researchers with, for example, Ipsos Mori currently handling the Active Lives Surveys – we also work closely with specialist research bodies and academies.

Official statistics

As an organisation we collect two types of ‘official statistics’, as defined by the Statistics and Registration Act, 2007. 

Our Active Lives surveys measure participation, sports spectating and volunteering, while we also produce figures on the number of statutory planning applications that affect playing fields. 

The 2007 Act emphasises the importance of official statistics to society and seeks to improve public trust in government statistics. 

We are required to comply with the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice, which governs the production and publication of official statistics, as they need to be carefully managed to ensure fairness and transparency. 

Scheduled release dates are outlined in our research calendar.


We've designed an Evaluation Framework to help partners evaluate funding streams and projects effectively, and to get maximum value from measurement and evaluation.

Evaluation Framework website

Latest news

Sign up to our newsletter

You can find out exactly how we'll look after your personal data, but rest assured we’ll only use it to make sure you receive our newsletter, to understand how you interact with our newsletter, and to provide administrative information about our newsletter.