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By GreaterSport | 29 April 2021 | TAGS: Active Lives, research, Research and learning

In the period between November 2019 and November 2020, 68.9% of adults in Greater Manchester were moving for more than 30 minutes a week (Sport England’s Active and Fairly Active measures). This is a significant decrease with 98,000 less adults doing more than 30 minutes of physical activity a week from the survey 12 months ago and 19,000 less than when the survey began in 2015-16.

These latest figures cover the first eight months of the pandemic, nationally, and in Greater Manchester, the disruption from Covid-19 has wiped out the gains made in the last five years. The additional local lockdowns faced by Greater Manchester are a probable cause for the profound change in activity levels seen across the region in the past 12 months with moving rates falling 4.9%, this is the fourth highest decrease in physical activity rates nationally.

Although there are fewer people moving across Greater Manchester the majority of adults (52.4%) have remained active (150+ minutes of physical activity a week) throughout this timeframe, including when the gyms and sports clubs were closed. This highlights the resilience of many residents towards physical activity and is also a testament to the sector which has enabled and supported people to adapt their activity habits.

Hayley Lever, CEO of GreaterSport and Exec Lead for GM Moving said, 

“We are deeply disappointed with the drop in activity levels across Greater Manchester over the last 12 months. We knew the pandemic had significantly impacted people’s lives and activity levels. A year of lockdowns, people working from home, home schooling, the cancellation of events, and the closure of leisure facilities, sports clubs and other community activities have all limited the ways that we can be active.

We have a pressing need, and a renewed opportunity, to support people to recover physically and mentally now that things are opening up again. Greater Manchester communities and partners are ready for a huge collective effort; creating the conditions for people to become active again. It has been fantastic to see activity and sports providers mobilising in recent weeks as restrictions have eased, with volunteers, teachers, leaders and many, many others all committed to playing their part in getting people moving/active.

We will use this new insight, along with local intelligence to shape the GM Moving in Action Strategy, with a 10 year vision for recovery and renewal as we design moving, physical activity and sport back into daily life.”

Our targets

These figures, when combined with activity rates for children and young people, now mean that:

  • 1.82 million residents are regularly moving* and contributing towards GreaterSport’s target of 2 million moving by 2021.
  • 66.0% of the Greater Manchester’s population are regularly moving* and contributing towards the GM Moving target of 75% by 2025.

*For children and young people moving is classed as at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day

The national picture

Sport England’s national report, 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.

What next

We will receive further Greater Manchester data in the coming weeks, which will help us to see the impact on local areas and key socio-economic and demographic inequalities, which we know have been impacted nationally. Once we have received this and analysed the data we will provide an in-depth Greater Manchester and local authority area breakdowns.

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