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[MOVIN’ ON DOWN] A million people in England stopped exercising due to COVID

The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, according to the latest edition of Sport England's annual Active Lives study, which covers the period from mid-May 2020 to mid-May 2021, when restrictions and lockdowns disrupted sports and physical activity.

During the period, the number of active adults – those who engage in at least 150 minutes of exercise a week - fell by 700,000 (-1.9%). At the same time, the number of inactive adults – those who do less than 30 minutes of exercise a week – increased by 1 million (+2%).

Activity levels throughout the period were consistently lower than pre-pandemic, but the drops were less pronounced as restrictions eased and activity levels started to rise.

Not surprisingly, previous growth in activity levels has been halted among older adults. according to the report. Activity levels had been growing strongly among both the 55-74 and 75+ age groups prior to the pandemic. While activity levels have been broadly maintained in the 55-74 age group, many of the gains among the 75+ age group have been lost, with “no real sign of recovery.” The same is true for people with a disability, and of course, the two sectors likely overlap.

The report stated, "This indicates the older age group may need additional support to recover activity levels, or there’s a risk of the inequality widening once again."

To read the full report, which likely has implications (and some potential solutions) beyond England, click here


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