Insight Blog - April, 2020

April, 2020

Posted: Sat, 25 Apr 2020 11:00 by Thomas Lawley

Active Lives Release - April Insight

Active Lives Release - April Insight

Hello and welcome to April's edition to the insight blog. I hope you are well and are coping during this unusual lockdown period.

This month's blog is on the recent Sport England Active Lives Adult Survey results release on Thursday (23rd). Alongside Sport England's COVID-19 survey. Covering attitudes and behaviours in relation to physical activity, and how COVID-19 has affected them.

Active Lives Results

The Active Lives survey is Sport England's method for measuring the nation's activity levels. There are two surveys, Active Lives Adult, which is published twice a year, and Active Lives Children and Young People, which is published annually.

This particular Active Lives Adult Survey is an unusual release. Covering the 12 months from November 2018 to November 2019, this report provides a picture of physical activity behaviours of adults in England prior to the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the subsequent social distancing guidelines.

The Active Lives Survey measures physical activity as bouts of 10 minutes or more at moderate intensity* that add up to one of the three predefined levels of activity (*vigorous intensity counts as double). Activities include; cycling for sport and leisure or travel, walking for leisure or travel, dance, sporting activities and fitness activities. It's important to note that the survey counts most sport and physical activity but excludes gardening. However, Public Health England does include gardening in its local level physical activity data. The survey separates activity into three predefined categories; active (at least 150 minutes a week), fairly active (an average of 30-149 minutes a week) and inactive (less than 30 minutes a week).

Table 1 displays the sport and physical activity levels for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area. It's good news that for each area, over half the population is active and completing 150+ minutes of exercise a week. Conversely less than 25% of each area is inactive.

Table 2 displays Sport and Physical Activity Level by Active Partnerships and Local Authority (changes from baseline), we can see if there have been any significant changes from baseline. This refers to any changes of significance since the Active Lives Survey Adult started collecting data. Wychavon have experienced the biggest change since baseline, with a 9.1% increase in people becoming active. Alongside that, this change is also reflected in a -6.6% significant decrease in those who are inactive. Worcestershire and Bromsgrove also saw significant changes, with both seeing increases in their fairly active population (2.5% and 5.3% respectively).

Table 3, the final table of this month's insight blog is a similar to the previous table. Instead of measuring changes from baseline, this table measures changes in the last 12 months. Herefordshire & Worcestershire have shown some encouraging signs, with a 3.0% increase in people becoming active. This significant increase is reflected on the other end of the scale with a -3.2% decrease in inactive people. This is fantastic news for both counties, and hopefully means we're on the right track to getting everyone fit and active! Finally, as with the previous table, Wychavon have seen massive changes in their active and inactive population. A 10.2% increase in the active population in the last 12 months ago, coupled with a -7.6% decrease in the inactive population within the same time period.

Covid-19 headlines

Sport England alongside their usual Active Lives release, have also been documenting the populations activity levels and attitudes towards physical activity since the start of the Covid-19. Sport England will be conducting a weekly survey to gage any changes in behaviours or attitudes as the pandemic continues. The following are the headlines taken from Sport England's insight briefing.


There has been a massive disruption in the physical activity behaviours of adults and children. 33% of adults did more and 39% did less physical activity in the last week compared to before the lockdown restrictions. This is to be expected, as the lockdown has closed gyms, restricted groups exercise and brought some confusion on what is allowed and not allowed.

In more encouraging news: there is a growing recognition of the importance of physical activity in response to the pandemic. 63% of adults believe it's more important to be active now, during the outbreak compared to other times. Perhaps this is in response to idea that being fit and healthy is a key indicator is your ability to fight off and recover from Covid-19. Or adults are seeing physical activity has a way to break up the day to prevent cabin fever. Either way it's encouraging to see physical activity's importance on the up.

In keeping with the theme of the growing importance of physical activity in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The majority of adults have identified physical activity as a key tool to managing their health throughout this lockdown period. 71% of adults agree that exercise helps manage their physical health, whilst 67% agree what it helps manage their mental health.

All in all, this in encouraging news to see people utilising physical activity during this uncertain time! For more information on Sport England's Covid-19 survey, you can access the full report and data tables here -

Tags: Active Lives, Blog, Herefordshire, Insight, Physical Activity, Sport England, Worcestershire

Tom Lawley

Tom Lawley

Project Officer (Information and Insight)

  • Insight
  • Data analysis
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Active Lives
01905 542380