Encouraging Sport England figures highlight the value of sport and recreation

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The latest Sport England Active Lives Survey has been published and it shows that one million more adults are reaping the benefits of being physically active.

Increasing levels of women and older adults participating in activity have helped to see this rise compared to 2017/18.

Sport and Recreation Alliance CEO Lisa Wainwright said: “This is encouraging news and we are delighted to see the demonstrative impact on the mental health and wellbeing benefits of participating in, and volunteering in, physical activity.

“Alliance members continue to play a starring role in getting the nation active, and it is so pleasing to see their hard work leading to this significant rise in activity levels.

“This report also provides opportunity. By highlighting the social value of taking part in physical activity, we can encourage those from outside the sector to contribute towards helping people live healthier lives.

“Health professionals, educators and policy makers should all be looking to use the power of sport and recreation to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of people across the country.

“This should be supported on a truly cross-governmental basis to make sure that sport and physical activity benefits are considered in all areas of public policy making and this is something we will be calling for in the coming months.

“Whilst largely positive, the survey does show a worrying lack of progression in the number of volunteers supporting the increased levels of activity.

“The latest figures show that volunteer numbers are unchanged, which represents a drop of 400,000 compared to two years ago. With more people than ever being physically active, it is crucial that we have the volunteering network available to support this and provide the opportunities for those who want to take part.

“The Alliance will continue to work with our members and grassroots clubs in this area to offer opportunities that local people and communities want to get involved with.  

“There is also work to do to target participants from a lower socio-economic background and sections of the BAME community. We must look at what those barriers are, and how they can be overcome, so that we see a reduction in those 11 million adults who are currently inactive.”

The full Sport England Active Lives Adult Survey can be viewed here.