Measuring sport and activity

People take part in sport and physical activity in different ways, with many doing a range of activities

At least twice in the last 28 days

Taking part in sport and physical activity is measured as the equivalent of 30 minutes’ activity at least twice in the last 28 days. Each session must last at least 10 minutes and be of at least moderate intensity. 

An individual can reach the minimum threshold by a combination of two 30 minute sessions across the last 28 days or by six 10 minute sessions, for example. This is measured for all the following activities:

  • Sporting activities
  • Fitness activities
  • Dance
  • Cycling and walking for leisure
  • Cycling and walking for travel.

Tackling inactivity

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) recommends that adults should be physically active. This can be done through a range of activities*:

  • Walking (for leisure or travel)
  • Creative or artistic dance
  • Sporting activities
  • Cycling (for sport and leisure or travel)
  • Fitness activities.

These activities:

  • Should ideally spread over several days (adults should aim to active daily)
  • Should be achieved in bouts of 10 minutes or more
  • Should be of at least moderate intensity

Moderate activity: This is defined as activity where you raise your heart rate and feel a little out of breath.

Vigorous activity: This is where you’re breathing hard and fast and your heart rate has increased significantly (you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath).

Sports spectating

This is measured as having attended two or more live sports events, whether professional or amateur, over the previous 12 months. 

*KPI2 in Sporting Future also includes gardening activity. However, as it is not part of Sport England's remit gardening is excluded from the data presented in this report (unless referenced otherwise).