The number of adults across Kent and Medway taking part in sport and physical activity has returned to pre-pandemic levels, but inequalities still remain.
Covering the period November 2021 to November 2022, Sport England’s Active Lives Adult Survey shows that 63.5% of adults in Kent and Medway achieved the recommended 150+ minutes of physical activity a week. This means that 27,400 adults are now more active and are experiencing the benefits of leading an active lifestyle, than the previous year.
Outdoor activities are continuing to grow, driven by walking and cycling for leisure. Activity levels are increasing among older adults and levels have recovered for adults with a disability or long-term health condition. Alongside this welcome return in activity levels, we’re also seeing that volunteering numbers are starting to recover, with those aged 75+ seeing the greatest increase. The report provides further evidence of the benefits of getting active for mental health – adults who are active are happier, more resilient and feel less lonely.
However, there are still 36.6% of adults who are not active enough and inequalities remain. Activity levels generally decrease with age, men continue to be more active than women, we have seen little or no change in activity levels amongst less affluent adults and people with a disability are still less active and those from Black, Asian and Other Ethnicities are being left behind.
To address these inequalities Active Kent and Medway has been and continues to work with organisations working with under-represented groups. Through Sport England’s Together Fund, we have supported over 60 projects and engaged over 1,200 participants to become more active.
Our Everyday Active campaign continues to support people to become more active by providing and promoting information on local opportunities, hints and tips and personal stories, through the website, via social media and with support from local Everyday Active Champions. For anyone wanting to improve their knowledge and feel more confident about having conversations with others to help them become more active, training and resources are also available.
Move Together, Kent and Medway’s Strategy for sport and physical activity sets out how we can all work together to support those who are already active, as well as tackling the inequalities that currently prevent some from enjoying the benefits that moving more in our everyday lives can bring to our physical and mental wellbeing.
“Whilst we are delighted to see a return to pre-pandemic levels, there is still much to be done to extend opportunities to those that are least active. Move Together – the recently launched countywide strategy for sport and physical activity sets out how we can all play our part in getting more people, more active, more often.
There are some inspirational examples of projects, programmes and partners already doing this across Kent and Medway and we look forward to continuing to support and work with them, and others to make a difference and encourage people to enjoy the benefits of moving more in their everyday lives.” Liz Davidson, Active Partnership Director.