Increase in activity positive but we need to better understand the inactive market

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Responding to the latest Active Lives Adults Survey data which was released this morning, Emma Boggis, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said: “It’s really encouraging to see that another half a million people are now leading an active life, especially given that more than half of these people are women and those with a disability are also increasingly active.

“The growth in a wider range of activities, including walking, adventure sports and fitness is important. As a sector we must recognise that the needs of consumers are changing fast. Participants want a fun and engaging experience so offering this should be our number one priority. For more traditional sport, that means continuing to innovate and adapt and for the non-traditional, it is about making sure they are clearly marketing their offer and are in a position to capitalise on these changing habits.

“However, there are some longstanding inequalities which need to be addressed, with those from lower socio-economic groups and South Asian and black adults some of the least active parts of society.

“Collectively we therefore need to understand better what is an appealing offer to the inactive. Crack that, and we open up a market of over 11 million adults.

“Many of our members and grassroots clubs and groups are already delivering innovative approaches to address this, and we recognised some of the best examples of this work at our recent Community Sport and Recreation Awards. One example, London Youth Rowing, has been doing some fantastic work to take their sport to new audiences with 81% of youngsters on their programmes coming from BAME backgrounds.

“We need more programmes which help foster a positive relationship with physical activity among all parts of our society at a young age. Early intervention will help encourage more people to maintain a lifelong relationship with activity, allowing them to enjoy many of the associated benefits, including life satisfaction, a sense of worth and happiness.”