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Increasing physical activity levels during challenging times

The latest results are in from the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey by Sport England, and it has revealed many interesting findings. Key points include teenage boys’ physical activity levels being hardest hit from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and girls becoming more active as they found alternative ways to take part in sports and exercise.


The survey also revealed that although the number of young people who were physically active fell during the 2019/20 academic year in England, due to storms and the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions; 44.9% of children and young people (3.2 million) met the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more a day.


This represents a decrease of  2.3%, with just over 100,000 fewer children meeting the recommended level of activity compared to the same period 12 months ago, although activity levels remain higher than in 2017/18.


As the leading creative growth partner for the UK leisure industry, Bigwave marketing works with its clients at the forefront of encouraging and increasing physical activity across the whole spectrum of ages and ability, from pre-school swimming lessons right up to elite sport performance centres.


Nick Masson, Commercial Director Bigwave media comments: “Sport England’s meticulous research resonates with the many ways in which people, organisations and business have responded to the pandemic. It emphasises the importance of marketeers and business growth developers when planning future marketing and business growth campaigns, in this case, relating to young people.”


He adds: “The old rules that may have determined your businesses growth in the past, may well have changed just as this research has demonstrated, and if we apply the old research to the new world, we may well be disappointed with the results we achieve. Therefore, research like this needs to inform, guide and direct our efforts so that we are able to respond quickly to the changing environment. It’s so important to read and digest these reports as they contain so many of the answers to the challenges faced by our clients of increasing the physical activity levels of their members.”


This is highlighted by Sport England explaining: “Thanks to the dedication and resourcefulness of parents, teachers, coaches and organisations who deliver activities, the drop during the period mid-May to late-July was significantly less than it was for adults earlier in the pandemic.”


The report and research also highlight other important factors available to read here with regard to understanding and responding to physical activity levels of young people, including an effect on behaviour not just at any one point in the year but throughout the year and within the context of the pandemic.


Nick Masson concludes: “The adoption and creation of new habits and activities are essential for leisure operators to understand and recognise. The drop in physical literacy may have an impact on young people perhaps for the rest of their lives and ultimately on their health – affecting even their life and health outcomes. Such consequences put a real responsibility on operators to recognise and respond to the data by being ready to change their offers and once open; encourage at scale the need for young people to take up physical activity.


Click on the link below to be directed to further information on the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey available on Sport England website, as well as links to read their reports.

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