The majority of physically active adults in England managed to maintain their habits despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest Active Lives Adult Survey, with just 710,000 fewer active adults between November 2019 and November 2020 compared to the same period 12 months previously.
However, the first eight months of coronavirus restrictions, as well as the storms that had a huge impact on outdoor activity in early 2020, also led to a worrying increase in the number of people who were inactive – doing less than 30 minutes of activity a week or nothing at all.
The report, published by Sport England, shows that while the restrictions associated with the pandemic had an unprecedented impact on activity levels, thanks in part to the support of the sport and physical activity sector, many people were able to adapt and find ways to return to activity as restrictions eased.
Not all groups or demographics were affected equally though, with women, young people aged 16-24, over 75s, disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, and those from Black, Asian, and other minority ethnic backgrounds most negatively impacted beyond the initial lockdown period.
Today’s findings also show how people’s relationship with sport and physical activity changed across the various different phases of coronavirus restrictions, who returned to activity once restrictions eased, and who didn’t.